Renowned seven-time Indian National Award winner Marathi filmmaker and writer Sumitra Bhave passed away in Pune due to age-related ailments. She was 78 and breathed her last at a private hospital early on Monday.
Bhave, along with her colleague and co-director Sunil Sukhthankar, were considered pathbreaking filmmakers who brought a change in the Marathi film industry, bringing it both commercial success and critical acclaim.
Born in Pune, Bhave completed her Masters in Political Science and later acquired another Masters in Political Science &a Sociology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Later, she worked as teacher in Pune’s Karve Institute of Social Sciences, an NGO and also as a Marathi newsreader with All India Radio (AIR).
She made her first short film ‘Bai’ in 1985 for Stree Vani which went onto bag her the first Indian National Award for Best Non-Feature Film on ‘Family Welfare’ (1986), followed by another short film ‘Paani’ that got the National Award in 1988.
When she was making her debut film, she came in contact with Sunil Sukhthankar, a FTII graduate and he joined her as an assistant director. They went on to make a Marathi film ‘Doghi’ (1995) which got them awards at the Maharashtra State Film Awards and another National Award in 1996.
They collaborated on another National Award winner, ‘Vaastupurush’ (2002) and ‘Dahavi Fa’, which won the Best Director and Best Film Award at the Maharashtra State Film Awards in 2003.
The duo’s film ‘Devrai’ (2004) also bagged a National Award and several state awards, besides television serials ‘Katha Sarita’ and ‘Majhi Shala’.
Among their other prominent films were ‘Kaasav’ (2016) which bagged the National Award in 2017, ‘Aastu’ (2013) which got a National Award, and other short and feature films, which bagged awards at various Indian and International film festivals worldwide.