Unforgettable Gems - Prakash & Uma Bhende
During the beginning of this year, when Marathi Movie World decided to
present their first awards for Marathi drama, television and film sections,
we were looking for a couple from this industry, who had given something back to this industry and stayed away from limelight. Having heard
about them from our MMW well wisher- Alhad Rajpurkar, we were very much
impressed with their work in their respective fields. And, we decided to
invite them as Chief guests for our inaugural award function.
Mr. Prakash Bhende, originally a painter by profession with specialization
in Fresco style of paintings prevalent since 5th century, found his life
partner in Uma, who was then a well known Marathi film actress of 60s and
70s. The couple not only obliged us at a short notice, but spent their
valuable time with us till the end of our function, offering us some
suggestions. It was a pleasure, spending time in their company. After the
function, we had decided to write about them. The opportunity came very
recently, when we visited their residence at Sion, for an exclusive
interview with the couple.
|After Ms. Uma Bhende welcomed us at their terrace flat, she directed us to the
bedroom of Mr. Prakash Bhende, where the evergreen actor- director was resting,
having recovered from an ailment. Indeed, a healthy and active person like Mr.
Bhende, who is now 70, had recovered from the ailment quickly and was talking
over phone to his office colleague, planning for a meeting soon. "It is very
boring lying on the bed, but the doctor has asked me take compulsory rest. Now,
I am just waiting to go back to my office and plan for my next film," he said
His wife Uma was sitting next to him, encouraging him to bounce back to his
routine. We talked about their memorable moments and Mr. Bhende was more than
happy to recall the days, when he first met Uma. "This is the same house, when
she first stepped in, after
|marriage. Before that she lived in Kolhapur and used
rented accommodation during her visits to Mumbai," he said. Ms. Uma, who acted
in more than 100 films, including Telugu and Bhojpuri besides Marathi films,
recalled her good old days in the company of well known artsites of yesteryears.
She specifically mentioned about her film 'Madhuchandra' opposite Dr. Kashinath
Ghanekar, which was a hit those days. "This film was directed by Rajdutt. All
the songs in this film were hit," she added.
After their marriage, both Prakash Bhende and Uma Bhende continued with their
association with Marathi films by producing films and giving scope to many
newcomers through films like 'Premasaathi Vattel Te', 'Naate Jadle Don
Jeevanche', 'Aapan Hyanna Pahilat Ka?' 'Bhaloo', 'Chatak Chandani' and 'Aai
Thor Tujhe Upkaar', which was released in 2001. "All the newcomers during late
80s, like Varsha Usgaonkar, Kanchan Adhikari and Smita Jaykar, still remember us
and are in regular touch with us. Even
>Mrinal Kulkarni (formerly Mrunal Deo)
never forgets us. She had even invited us for the muhurat of her own film
recently." he added. .
Then suddenly turning emotional, Mr. Prakash pointed out that his wife Uma had
not received any lifetime achievement award so far, which she deserved, for her
contribution to Marathi film industry. The last time Ms. Uma Bhende was
felicitated was in 2003, when Thane Municipal Corporation conferred upon her
with P. Savlaram award. But, that was long back. We have seen all the actresses
of her time having been felicitated, at different popular and state award
functions. Even her Junior- Asha Kale received the Lifetime achievement award.
Then why not Uma Bhende? Just Forget about the award, the couple is not even
invited for many popular award functions. A popular actress of her time, with
over 100 films to her credit and having produced her own films, certainly
deserves a better deal. Marathi Movie World wishes the couple a happy and
peaceful life filled with happiness to offer something more, to this film
industry and their well wishers.
by Ulhas Shirke © MMW