indian cinema heritage foundation

Ram Gabale

  • Born: 20 March, 1924
  • Died: 9 January, 2009 (Bombay)
  • Primary Cinema: Marathi
  • Children: Devdatta Gabale, Rekha Kulkarnia

Acclaimed film director Ram Gabale was born this day, 20 March in 1924. He directed over 25 Marathi and Hindi films and more than 100 documentaries, short films and ad films. He was also one of the assistant directors for Richard Attenborough’s Oscar-winning film Gandhi (1982). Hailing from Kolhapur, Gabale moved to Bombay to work with Rajkamal Studios. He went on to start his career with Prabhat Films in Pune. He worked with greats such as V Shantaram, Master Vinayak, Bhalji Pendharkar, P L Deshpande, G D Madgulkar and Sudhir Phadke. He wrote the scripts for many films, including for Vande Mataram (1948) which was also his directorial debut. He was just 24 at the time. Gabale went on to make films such as Dev Pavla (1950), Johar Maibaap (1950), Dudh Bhat (1952), Devbappa (1953), Postatil Mulgi (1954) which focused on working women, Chhota Jawan (1963) and Jiwhala (1968). His film Chhota Jawan (1963) won the state’s best film award, as did his documentary on Maharshi Karve. His Kale Gore won the V Shantaram Award given by the state government as well as honours at an international film festival. His children’s films Phool Aur Kaliyan and Kutch Khatta Kutch Meetha were also appreciated. While Phool Aur Kaliyan won the Prime Minister's Gold Medal, Kale-Gore was awarded at the Leipzig International Film Festival, as was Jaldeep at the Venice Film Festival. Gabale was also the recipient of a special recognition from Indira Gandhi for his film Shatayu Kesari.

Associated with the Film and Television Institute of India and Rajkamal studios, he also held positions at prominent Indian cinematic institutions including vice-principal at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) as well as Film City in Goregaon and Films Division in Bombay. The last film Gabale directed was He Geet Jeevanache (1995). Ram Gabale passed away on 9 January, 2009. In 2019, the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) acquired rare footage from a ‘lost’ Marathi film classic of the 1940s, the Gabale-directed Vande Mataram. Starring Deshpande, it is a piece of memorabilia that ranks high on the list for film afficionados.

  • Filmography (1)