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‘To me the Amte family is venerable’




Actor Nana Patekar, who did full justice to the character of Prakash Amte in the Marathi movie ‘Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero’, is working on making a biopic on Baba Amte, a movie he will direct, produce and act in. “I will start working on this movie after one year as now the movie ‘Dr Prakash Amte – The Real Hero’, will remain in audience consciousness for at least a year”, says Nana, who was present at the screening of the movie held on Day 6 of the 45th International Film Festival of India, at Inox.

Clarifying that his movie was not a prequel to Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero,’ Patekar said: “The life of Baba Amte is different from that of his son. Baba was a zamindar, lawyer and union leader of manual scavengers. But, then one day somebody said to him that it was easier to be a leader of the manual scavengers than actually do their work. So, one day he carried the human excreta on his head. It was raining and the filth started dripping down his face. At that very time, Amte saw a leper infested with worms lying in a gutter. That sight, and not the fact that he had human filth trickling down his face, shook him to his very core. He thought that if he could see beauty in the broken sculptures in the Ajanta Ellora caves, then why not in this man who was still alive. After that incident he dedicated his life to leprosy patients and his family supported him”, says Nana who has been associated with Amte family for the last 42 years.

It was this association that came in handy while working on ‘Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero’.



“I don’t go to temple as I don’t like one sided conversation. For me the Amte family members are no less than gods. Prakash is god for the naxalites”, says Nana.

He also appreciated the efforts of Prakash’s wife, Manda Amte, who sacrificed her life for the tribals of Hemalkasa, Maharashtra. “The third generation of Amte’s continues the work begun by Baba Amte. I believe this sacrificing nature is hereditary with them”, says Nana.

Speaking about his friendship with animals and sharing an anecdote regarding Prakash Amte and his relationship with wild animals, he says, “It is easier to strike friendships with animals than human beings. Animals are more accepting. Once I saw Amte befriend a full grown male lion in just three hours. For the first two hours he just stared at him. Then slowly he put his hand in the cage. After a few minutes the lion started licking his hand. I don’t know what magic he (Prakash) has and how he communicates with animals.”

When asked whether he felt that this film had come to him quite late in his career, he replied, “I don’t know. I think it was well timed. I don’t think I had the maturity for this role earlier.”

On what he gained from this film, he says, “I know the Amte family for long now. Whatever goodness I have in me is because of them.”



Nana Patekar is known both for his socially relevant movies as also Bollywood movies. About his choice of films, he says: “An actor needs to be versatile. The audience for ‘Dr Prakash Amte – The Real Hero’ and say a ‘Welcome 2’ are not the same and yet I even films like the later can be also socially relevant. If a depressed person feels happy after watching ‘Welcome 2’ then I think I have done something for society.”

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