Back then in the 1900s, females were not allowed to do any job. And it was very difficult for a single mother to survive. But, Durgabai Kamat, who was the first actress in Indian cinema (Marathi) became the inspiration for many females.
However, it was not an easy journey for her. But she stood for herself and created a history. So what difficulty does she face to earn this tag? Let’s dig into her history and know about the struggles she faced as a single mother and when her community people boycott her.
Read till last to know about her inspiring journey.
First actress in Indian cinema Biography
Early life of Durgabai Kamat
Although there is not much information is available about Durgabai. And that’s really sad that despite her huge contribution to Indian cinema only less know about her. But I will try to tell about her as much as possible.
Durgabai was born to a Brahmin family in 1899. That was the time when people thinks females are only suitable for taking care of the house, kids, and their husbands after marriage.
She studied to 7th standard and later married a history teacher Anand Nanoskar in Mumbai. But unfortunately in 1903, her marriage life shattered and her husband left her all alone with her 3-year-old daughter Kalambai.
At that time a woman can’t raise a child alone. As there is no employment for females back then. So she had three options to choose first to do work as a servant, second as a $** worker or to work on the silver screen.
So finally, no choice left, she choose to work in the cinema. Working on movies for females was like a shameless job (even worse than a $** worker). So she faced huge obligations from society and even she got boycotted from her Brahmin community. But she had to raise her daughter and that’s why apart from too much hatred, she decided to work on movies.
At first, she joined a traveling theatre company and because of this, she had to roam across the city. And she doesn’t want her daughter to live like a nomadic, so she provides her a homeschool education.
Dada Saheb Phalke (father of Indian cinema) was looking for an actress for her second movie Mohini Bhashmasur. As in Raja Harishchandra (his first movie), he had to make work with males for the role of females because nobody allowed their females to join the cinema.
But Phalke Saheb wanted his next movie to be original. So he started searching for a heroine who can do the role of Parvati. He published various ads for this, but not a single woman came because of the fear of their family. But Phalke found Durgabai who was ready to do the role.
And by this, she did the role of Parvati and her daughter Kalambai did the role of her daughter Mohini. This movie was released in 1913. By this, Kalambai became the first child actress of Indian cinema.
After seeing Durgabai and Kalambai, many females joined Indian cinema. Because their thinking has changed. And the hesitation of their families is now reduced.
Sadly, Durgabai Kamat died at the age of 98 on 17, May, 1997 in Pune.
Durgabai Kamat Family
She is the maternal grandmother of Marathi actor Chandrakant Gokhale. And the great grandmother of actor Vikram and Mohan Gokhale.
You already saw Vikram Gokhale in many famous bollywood movies like De Dana Dan (Kamini’s husband), Bhool bhoolaiya (Acharya yagayaprakash), and Hum Dil de chuke Sanam (Nandani’s father).
Dada Saheb and Durgabai have huge contributions to Indian cinema and they both are unforgettable.
Hope you enjoyed my article. Anything I skipped or any information that you think is wrong then please share it in the comment box.