From Director's Desk
Dr Jabbar Patel
Award Winning Director
The making of the film Dr. Babasaheb
Ambedkar, right from its conception to its creation was for me an experience
in itself. The concept that was just a dream in the beginning finally came
true and I saw myself living it. Recreating the life of one of the greatest
visionaries of Indian History was an experience of a lifetime.
This huge tree
has its roots in a documentary film I made on the life of Dr. Ambedkar for
the Films Division in the year 1989. Shooting for this documentary was also
done part in the US and the UK and mainly in India when I met many
people who were in actual contact with Dr. Ambedkar .The incidents that were
narrated to me by these people and also their fond memories of the learned
visionary were so touching and exciting that I thought, the only true tribute
to the great man and also to these people would be a life size sketch of Dr.
Ambedkar on the silver screen.
Committee was set up to celebrate 100 years of birth of Dr. Ambedkar in the
year 1991-1992 which had Mr. Sharad Pawar as it's Chairman, the then Chief
Minister of Maharashtra. The seed of this huge tree was sown by Smt. Mrinal
Gore who gave the committee the idea of my dream. And thus an amount of Rs 1
Crore was sanctioned for the fulfillment of my dream. The Centenary Committee
of the Government of India under the Chairmanship of the then Prime-Minister
Mr. Chandrashekhar contributed Rs 5 Crores and then the research began
included a rigorous work of five years under the able guidance of Dr. Y. D.
Phadke and thus emerged a script written by three equally able writers,
Late Daya Pawar, Arun Sadhu and Sooni Taraporevala. The
Script Committee appointed by the Government of India included eminent Indian
historians and prominent Ambedkarites. The script was approved and freedom of
creativity of the director was agreed upon by this committee.
of the period in India and abroad as well, was a huge task.
Institutes like the Columbia University New York and the London School of Economics where
Dr. Ambedkar had studied, gave their full support and the shooting was done
free of cost though some architectural parts had to be recreated. We faced a
similar problem in India as well, only on a much larger scale;
especially as a feel of Old Bombay was needed. The buildings had to be
re-erected and the whole period of the early 1900 had to be re-created.
The ordeal of
re-creation did not limit itself to just the architecture or the period but
it went as far as the actor who had to live the role of Ambedkar. The search
for the actor did not limit itself to India but was also carried out on the other
side of the Atlantic as well. But finally it was the face and
the talent of the Southern Superstar Mammootty that had the potential to
relive the life of Ambedkar. The rest of the cast too included a lot of care
The choice of
Mammootty to play the role of Ambedkar was so appropriate that the hundreds
of Dalits who would come to take part in shooting would be emotionally so
moved that they would come to Mammootty with devotion in their hearts and
tears in their eyes This was the greatest success and achievement of the
working for the film had an ambition they wanted to make it a film
technically par excellence that was made on International Standards and that
would stand the test of an International audience. And so the style of
production was lavish with no stone left unturned for the achievement of
technical success. This proved the prime feature of the impact the film has
on the audience. Fluency of the camera unique music and an equal quality of
sound in Dolby Digital Sound Systems rendered the film it's international
various strata have already seen this film in special screenings and have
appreciated it to a great extent. These include people from the field of art,
literature, law and politics. And their reactions have been favourable. Some
representing the common stratum of society have also previewed the film and
their reactions have been touching and overwhelming especially that age group
of people which has seen and met Dr. Ambedkar personally. They have reacted
with no less than tears in their eyes. Political leaders like the Prime
Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shri L.K. Advani and Shri Sharad Pawar
have watched the film and have described it as an excellent film. Leaders of
the Republican party of Indian like Maisaheb Ambedkar, Shri Prakash Ambedkar,
Late Shri Dadasaheb Rupavate, Shri R.S.Gawai too have admired the film.
Literates like Shri Vijay Tendulkar, Shri Pritish Nandi, artists like Dr.
Shreeram Lagoo, Shri Satyadev Dubey, Shri Adoor Gopalkrishanan, Shri
Shekhar Kapoor, Smt Madhuri Dixit - Nene, have spoken as watching this
film is like the rewriting chapters of Indian Social History and that every
Indian must watch this film.
not come from only these quarters, but also from a very vulnerable corner
which is the young generation of the age group of 18 to 30 years, especially
the Non- Ambedkarites who bear strong prejudices against Dr. Ambedkar. After
seeing the film they expressed that through this film they got to know about
the humiliation and the sufferings Dr. Ambedkar had to undergo in spite of
his high educational qualifications. They admit that they must re-evaluate
the role of Dr. Ambedkar in the Indian Social History in a positive way.
Applause also comes from an unexpected quarter, the women. They are touched
by the efforts Dr. Ambedkar took, to uplift the cause of women and give them
an equal standing in society through the introduction of the Hindu Code Bill
After these few trials it is very evident that people appreciate the content
and the purpose of the film, rationally and emotionally. They are impressed
by the cinematic technical excellence, stunning performances and the honest
re-creation of History through the script, sets, costumes and the music.
The film has to
reach the millions and hundreds of people of the country and very aptly it
has the potential to reach the very interiors of
India. But it needs a proper canalization,
which is attainable only through the medium of distribution and proper
- Jabbar Patel