NFAI - Logo National Film Archive of India Image



Click to View the Photograph 
Citation on the participation of Sant Tukaram in the 5th Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematographica in 1937 was deposited by Shri. Sunny Joseph from Thiruvananthapuram with the National Film Archive of India, Pune on March 23, 2004.

The film was adjudged as one of the three best films of the year in the World, the other two being Maria Nover of Hungary and Flying Doctor from Australia.

The importance of this treasure lies in the fact that Sant Tukaram was the first Indian film which got international acclaim of this stature.

Shri. Sunny Joseph, who took Post Graduate Diploma in Cinematography from the FTII, Pune is one of the leading cinematographer in India. The original  certificate of participation of Sant Tukaram in the Venice Film Festival was reportedly picked up by Shri. Sunny Joseph from a dustbin on Law College Road in Pune in 1979 when he was studying in the FTII. He preserved this invaluable document for 25 years before handing over to NFAI for permanent preservation at the instance of Shri. K.S.Sasidharan, Director, NFAI.

Sant Tukaram was released at the Central Cinema, Mumbai on 12th December, 1936. It was an enormously successful film running continously for 57 weeks, breaking all records. The film conquered not only the Maharashtrian audience but was acclaimed internationally. It received an honourable place in the Venice Film Festival in August 1937, the first such honour to be received by an Indian film. It was viewed by the Maharaja of Mysore and Lady Linlithgo, wife of the Viceroy. A special screening was held for the Foreign Consulates in Mumbai.

The film depicts the life and legends of the 17th century saint-poet Saint Tukaram of Maharashtra. It cuts across gender, class and caste and hints at the importance that bhakti had acquired in the nationalist period in pre-independent India when the film was made. The film was hailed as a "human document of great value".

"A certain simplicity of approach (of its Directors) and the sincerity of emotions (of the principal actors) are the twin virtues which raise Tukaram above any other film in the same genre" B.D.Garga. 

The film Sant Tukaram (Il santo Tukaram) was screened again in 1982 along with Duniya Na Mane (another film of the Prabhat Film Company) on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Mostra Internazionale del Cinema (La Biennale di Venezia) when a Retrospective of the best films featured in the earlier festivals was held.

Image   HOME

This all-time classic is well preserved by the National Film Archive of India, Pune.