Nana Patekar The Most Misunderstood

I walked into the compound of "Sheetal Apartments" thinking it was like the good old days when I used to meet a friend called

By Team Bollyy
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Ali Peter John

I walked into the compound of "Sheetal Apartments" thinking it was like the good old days when I used to meet a friend called Nana Patekar. I used to just walked in those days and walk up to his simple apartment and then spend as much time as I wanted with him or he wanted with me. I was still remembering the evening when we were sitting together and Manisha Koirala walked in after finishing her shoot and he had asked her to make some tea for all of us and she had to prepare the tea on a primus stove on his order, when the security guard called me and asked me who I was. I was a bundle of hurt and anxiety. Nana toh aise Nahi the, I thought to myself till the security guard looked at me with mixed feelings after hearing my name.

nana patekar_manisha koirala

He then kept me waiting and tried to contact Nana. The answer came within a minute. The security guard looked at me with a gleam of triumph in his Uttar Bhartiya eyes when he said, "sahab ne manaa kiya hai, aap unse abhi nahi mil sakte". My head went into a roll and I was reeling and rushing towards the gate. I had never expected a response like this at least from a gentle man who people had never tried to understand, I believed. I was not angry but very hurt and thoroughly worried about how success could change even a man who was so very different, a gentleman like Nana Patekar. I was wondering about what I would do with the rest of the evening when my mind went into a rapid flashback into the life and times of Nana Patekar as I had seen it...

I remembered how this student of the Sir. J.J School of Art had taken to theatre and then to Marathi films. He was mind-blowing as a young, cold-blooded murderer in a Marathi film called “Maaficha Saakshidaar". It was his striking and startling performance that made the film as true to the true incident of a “bhayankar” murder case known as the Joshi-Abhyankar Murder Case which shattered Bombay and shook the faith of its people in the goodness of human beings.

Maficha Sakshidar

If anyone asked me which was the best Marathi film I have seen, I would still say Dr. Jabbar Patel's "Sinhasaan". The political thriller was a masterpiece mainly because of the dynamic performances of actors like Dr. Shriram Lagoo, Nilu Phule and Satish Dubhashi but the big surprise was a small role played by Nana Patekar who played the henchman of the wily politician played by Dubhashi, Nana was brilliant again. It was Smita Patil who herself was trying to find a foothold in Hindi films who recommended Nana to the B.R. Films’ camp and he played the villain with a difference in “Aaj ki Awaaz” which opened the gates of Hindi films for him.

aaj ki awaz

He was a man and an actor to watch. He played two very strong characters in N.Chandra's “Ankush” and “Pratighaat”. It seemed like N.Chandra the director and Nana would make a formidable team in many more films to come, but that was not to be because of what many who were close to both of them called “the ego clash of the two great Marathas”.


Nana played many other amazing roles but he was the living fire and brimstone krantiveer (revolutionary) in Mehul Kumar's “Krantiveer” in which he gave acting a new dimension which even the master of acting Dilip Kumar found difficult to understand and when he was the chairman of the jury of a major award he requested all the members to nominate Nana for the best actor unanimously and that was how it was. Nana not only won all the major awards for best actor but was a star worth a crore with just that one film.


He repeated the same feat in Mehul Kumar's second film “Tirangaa” which blazed the headlines from the time the film was started because of the extraordinary casting coup of bringing "two dangerously eccentric actors, Raaj Kumar and Nana Patekar together". The two actors surprised one and all when they proved to be the best of friends and Nana even touched Raaj Kumar's feet with respect, a feeling he was very stingy about when it came to his other co-stars and filmmakers. Amidst a flood of other films he blistered his way through, he even took on the challenge of directing "Prahaar", a film based on the lives of Commandos. He took his new job so seriously that he went through a real life training course with real life commandos in Kolhapur for more than two months before starting the shooting of the film. The making of the film however was not a very happy experience for him and he decided never to direct a film again and he has stood by that decision till now. He kept looking for roles which he could bite his teeth into but they rarely came. It was at this stage that he discovered the comic actor in him that worked for him in "Welcome" first and again with "Welcome Back".


He is at the cross-roads as an actor. He will not bow down and compromise and there are not many offers that can really tempt the actor in him. What will Nana who is known for saying "na na" to most offers with the best of money do now? That is a million rupee question to which only Nana has the answers. He has found other ways of keeping the Nana Patekar in him alive by starting a crusade to save farmers who are in debt and on the verge of committing suicide and the response to his clarion call has been extremely gratifying.

To keep the artist in him alive, he is planning to make a film based on a popular Marathi play "Natsamraat", a role which has been made immortal by great Marathi actors like Dr. Shriram Lagoo and Yashwant Dutt. Many experts believe that it is the right time for a mature Nana to play the character based on Shakespeare’s "King Lear". Will Nana live up to the standard set by giants like Dr. Lagoo and Yashwant Dutt and a character like every great actor in the west and even our own best like Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan have only been wanting to play?


He was dubbing at Dev Anand's Anand Recording Studio for “Yashwant” when I met him. We exchanged some talk and I don't know why I was tempted to ask him in Marathi if he had ever met Dev Anand. There was child-like excitement on his face. He said," Naahi re kadhi bhetlo naahi." I asked him if he would like to see Dev Sahab. He asked, "kuthe aahet, bhetavshil ka?" I called Dev Sahab who was sitting in his pent house above and asked him if I could bring Nana Patekar to him. Dev Sahab was equally excited and said, "Nana, nana you don't have to ask permission, bring him up now." I lead Nana to Dev Sahab and Nana leaped forward and threw himself on the floor at Dev Sahab's feet and kept crying in disbelief. Dev Sahab said "Nahi nahi Nana, tumhari jagah waha nahi, Mere pass, mere dil mein hai, come and sit here, you are a great actor. Walk carefully and you will touch the sky". I don't know if Nana remembers this incident, but I know that if he remembers that only meeting with Dev, it can change his way of looking at himself, at his career and people around.



Nana has always been an admirer of Naseeruddin Shah as an actor. He was one of the highest paid actors after his brilliant performance in “Krantiveer” which was also a super hit. It was at this time that a producer wanted to make a film with Nana and Naseer. Nana being the star he was after “Krantiveer” was offered the price he demanded, but even when it came to deciding the price for Naseer, he made sure that Naseer got the price which he had never received for any other film because Nana believed that Naseer was a greater actor than him and deserved to be paid better. The film however did not get made. Nana again proved how great a fan he was of Naseer recently. He said he had the unique opportunity to see Naseer perform in his latest play “Einstein” based on the life of the great physicist. He kept talking about the “great performance of Naseer in “Einstein”.

Naseeruddin shah_nana patekar

He however proved how much he admired Naseer in the play when he was being interviewed by Barkha Dutt of NDTV about his latest initiative to help farmers in Maharashtra. He was in the midst of talking about more and more people doing their best to protect the interests of the farmers and stop them from committing suicide when he suddenly broke into a one -man applause for Naseer’s performance in “Einstein”. He said he had always admired Naseer as an actor but had never seen him as good as he was in the play and said, “actor toh Naseer bhai hai, hum kaaikey actor, Sabko Naseer ka yeh naatak dekhna hi chaahiye. Mahaan hai Naseer”.

barkha dutt

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