Dada Kondke was born in a mill-worker's family in Naigaum in central Mumbai on Gokulashtami day and hence was named Krishna.Even though it is popularly believed that Dada Kondke was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of films (nine) that achieved silver jubilee (running for 25 consecutive weeks), no such entry exists. Krishna Kondke was called "Dada", an honorific Marathi term meaning "elder brother", which lead to his popular name Dada Kondke.
Dada Kondke was a born in a mill-worker's family in Naigaum, near Lalbaug, Mumbai. These workers were mostly migrants to the city of Mumbai looking for employment in the prospering cotton mills. This section of the society was well connected to their rural roots. Dada's movies targeted this section of the society. Tamasha and stage drama's have always played an important role in Marathi entertainment industry. Dada had started his entertainment career with a band and then as a stage actor. While working for drama Dada toured all over Maharashtra which helped him understand what entertainment meant to the local population. This learning can be seen in his movies which targeted masses over classes. Dada was a native of Ingavali in Bhor which is in Pune district of Maharashtra.
Dada's early life was spent in chawls of Naigaum, a Marathi heartland of Mumbai. As a youngster Dada was a rough kid who later on took up job in a local grocery retail chain, Apna Bazaar. It was then that Dada lost most of his immediate family to unfortunate events. The recovery process changed Dada completely who decided to stay focused on the lighter side of life and make people around laugh. Dada became a member of a local band which earned him the nickname "Bandwale Dada" (literally translation, 'big brother who plays for the band').
Road to success
It was during this time that Dada got involved in cultural activities of Seva Dal. He started working in drama's and came in contact with various drama related personalities one of who was Vasant Sabnis, a well known Marathi writer. Dada decided to play big and started his own drama company, and approached Sabnis to compose a drama script for him. Sabnis was impressed with Dada's personality and his performance in "Khankhanpurcha Raja" (literal translation, Bankrupt king), and wrote a drama entitled, "Vichha Majhi Puri Kara" (literal translation, Fulfill my desires), which was a turning point in Dada's life. The drama went on to play over 1500 shows and made Dada a star. The drama got Dada into spotlight and also gave him an entry into Marathi movies through a role in Bhalji Pendharkar's movie "Tambdi Maati". This was followed by a lead role in "Songadya" a block buster which turned Dada's world around. Dada kept on delivering one hit after the other. He retained his team from Songadya and delivered his next hit "Ekta jeev Sadashiv".
Dada Kondke's storylines were always based on the simpleton. He used same team of actors, technicians and playback singers to repeat the formula for success that he believed he had got from his debut film. Dada movies, produced under the "Kamakshi Pictures" banner, had the same set of people, which included Usha Chavan as the lead actress, Raam Laxman as his music director, initially Jayawant Kulkarni and then Mahendra Kapoor as the male, and Usha Mangeshkar as the female playback singer, and Bal Mohite as the chief assistant.
On March 14, 1998 at 3.30 am, at his residence Rama Niwas in Dadar, Mumbai Dada Kondke suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to Shushrusha Nursing Home, a stone’s throw away from his residence, where he breathed his last. Dr Anil Wakankar, his physician-cum-friend, had given him a routine check-up only the previous day. He was working on a film Jaraa Dheer Dhara with Usha Chavan when the end came.
Songadya (1971): Dada's first venture in movie production was based on a story written by Vasant Sabnis, and was directed by Govind Kulkarni. Dada cast himself as Namya, the simpleton who falls to the glamour of Kalavati (played by Usha Chavan) who is a dancer in Tamasha. Namya's mother gets annoyed on knowing his visits to Tamasha and throws him out of house. Kalavati provides shelter to Dada and starts his career at Tamasha. The movie was a big hit and made Dada's simpleton image a huge success. Dada kept his simpleton image intact all the following movies. Even though the movie was big hit the movie, it's screening in Mumbai took a controversial turn when the owner of Kohinoor Theater in Dadar decided to screen Dev Anand's Teen Deviyan in spite of Dada booking the theater 4 weeks in advance. Dada then approached Shiv Sena supremo, Balasaheb Thackeray for help. Soon Shiv Sainiks gathered and started protesting outside the theater. Eventually Songadya was released in Kohinoor and was a big hit. Some of the other people, who played major characters in this movie, were Nilu Phule, Ganpat Patil, Sampat Nikam and Ratnamala.
Marathi Drama - On stage with Writer Vasant Sabnis’s "Vichha Majhi Puri Kara" more than 100 shows.
Marathi Movies - Bhalji Pendharkar, took him into Marathi Cinema i.e. Tambadi Maati.
- 1969: Tambdi Maati
- 1981: Ganimi Kawa
His home-productions 16 Marathi Movies -
- 1971: Songadya Usha Chavan, actress.
- 1972: Eakta Jeev Sadashiv
- 1973: Andhala Marto Dola
- 1975: Pandu Hawaldar Usha Chavan, actress.
- 1976: Tumch Amach Jama
- 1977: Ram Ram Gangaram Usha Chavan, actress.
- 1978: Bot Lavin Tithe Gudgudalya Usha Chavan, actress.
- 1980: Hyoch Navra Pahije Jayshree Tee, actress.
- 1987: Aalee Angawar Usha Chavan, actress.
- 1988: Muka Ghya Muka
- 1990: Palva Palvi- produced and owned by Vijay Kondke
- 1992: Yevu Kaa Gharaat
- 1994: Sasarche Dhotar
His home-productions 4 Hindi Movies -
- 1984 : Tere Mere Beech Mein
- 1985 : Andheri Ratme Diya Tere Hathme
- 1986 : Khol De Meri Juban
- 1989 : Aage Ki Soch Swapna, actress.
Other Languages Movies -
- 1977 : Chandu Jamadar - Gujarati
Other : Le Chal Apne Sang (2000) (dedicated to the memory of)- produced by Sunita Kondke
Labels: Dada Kondke