Brahmachari (1938)

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Cast and crew

Meenakshi in Brahmachari (1938)
Meenakshi in Brahmachari (1938)
Meenakshi in Brahmachari (1938)
Meenakshi in Brahmachari (1938)

Director: Master Vinayak

Writer: P.K. Atre

Cast: Master Vinayak, Meenakshi Shirodkar, V.G. Jog, Damuanna Malvankar, Javdekar

Dialogues: P.K. Atre (Marathi)

Pandit Indra (Hindi-Urdu)

Cinematography: Pandurang Naik

Music: Dada Chandekar

Lyrics: Pandit Indra

The film

Brahmachari was made in Marathi, with an equally popular Hindi-Urdu version.

The background

India was a British colony at the time, and in the grip of its freedom struggle. Nationalist Hindus were asking themselves why first several Muslim armies and the European (mainly British) had managed to colonise India, for the last 900 years or so. The reason, they felt, lay in the Hindus' lack of military, indeed, any kind of physical, training.

Story and context

In the 1930s many idealistic, young, middle-class Hindu men were attracted to a celibate-muscular version of Hinduism. (The Boy Scouts movement in the west and celibate versions of Islam were also doing the rounds around the same time--for young men from their respective communities.) ' Brahmachari' means 'celibate' and the film's hero Audumbar (Vinayak) has resolved to be celibate. However, saucy, playful Kishori (Meenakshi) leads him away from the straight and narrow, partly by appearing in a swimming costume.

The film, in effect, poked fun at this celibate-muscular version of Hinduism.

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