Nilu Phule (16 May 1930 - 13 July 2009) was an Indian actor known for his roles in the Marathi language movies and Marathi theatre. Nilu Phule acted in around 250 Marathi and Hindi movies during his film career. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and iconic actors to have graced the Marathi Cinema. He was most prominently seen playing the roles of notorious villains in the movies.
Phule in early films
Nilkanth Krushnaji Phule
16 May 1930
|Died||13 July 2009 (aged 79)|
|Other names||Nilu bhau|
|Occupation||Stage and film actor|
|Spouse(s)||Rajani Phule (m. ?— 2009)|
Nilu Phule was born in 1930 in Pune as Nilkanth Krushnaji Phule. He is considered one of the greatest actors of Marathi stage/films of all time. He was involved in Freedom movement for India. According to his interview in a serial 'Vastraharan' on a Marathi Channel, he was a freedom fighter from Pune.
Phule's first job was that of a gardener at the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, aged 17. He used to get a salary of Rs. 80 per month, out of which, he used to donate Rs. 10 to the Rashtriya Seva Dal, a social organization he was involved with. He wanted to pursue his gardening career forward, but due to lack of financial support, he could not start his own plant nursery. During this time, at the age of 20, Nilu was inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's writings and went on to write a drama, Udyan. His composing for the drama Yedya Gabalache Kam Nahi during the 1957 Lok Sabha elections garnered him fame.
Nilu Phule began his theatrical career with the Marathi folk performances (loknatya). His first professional drama was Katha Akalecha Kandyachi, which went on to have over 2000 shows. It was based on this success that he was offered his first movie Ek Gaav Baara Bhanagadi, by Anant Mane in 1968.
Nilu often played villains; most notably his portrayal of Sakharam Binder. Some of his notable film roles include: Hindurao Dhonde Patil, a zamindar and a sugar tycoon in Samna (film), a power-drunk politician in Mahesh Bhatt's Saaransh and a political journalist in Jabbar Patel's Sinhasan.
One of Phule's most notable theatrical performances include his role as the eponymous hero of Vijay Tendulkar's Sakharam Binder (first staged in 1972). Kamlakar Sarang, who directed the first production of the play in 1972, was apprehensive of Phule's reticence. However, he was convinced that Phule would be fit for the role, when Vijay Tendulkar reminded him of Phule's aggressive performance as a minister in another play, Katha Aklechya Kandyachi. 
He was known for his legendary voice and dialogue delivery. His dialogues in his films remains one of the most popular dialogues across Marathi Film Industry. It is said that his acting in villainous roles in movies was so surreal that women in real life would despise him thinking that he was the same deviant person in real life too, and that was a great compliment to his works.
In May 2013, when Forbes India, the Indian edition of American Business Magazine Forbes, declared 25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema, the list was completed with this legend's name for his performance as Hindurao Dhonde Patil in the film Samna (film).
Nilu Phule died on 13 July 2009, aged 78, from esophageal cancer. His wife Rajani Phule died in 2011. They are survived by their daughter Gargi Phule Thatte.
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991), by the President of India
- Maharashtra State Award for Haat lavin tithe sone (1973)
- Maharashtra State Award for Saamna (1974)
- Maharashtra State Award for Choricha Mamla (1975) 
- Jayantrao Tilak Memorial Life Time Achievement Award' given by Kesari Maratha Trust, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth and Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad, Pune chapter.
- Katha Akalecha Kandyachi
- Sakharam Binder
|1968||Ek Gaon Bara Bhangadi||Jhele Anna||Marathi|
|1969||Mukkam Post Dhebewadi|
|1970||Ganane Ghungroo Haravale||Marathi|
|1971||Asheech Ek Ratra||Nagya|
|1972||Pinjra||Leader of dance troupe||Marathi|
|1972||Harya Narya Zindabad||Narya||Marathi|
|1975||Samna||Hindurao Dhonde Patil||Marathi|
|1975||Karava Tasa Bharava||Babu||Marathi|
|1975||Dhoti Lota Aur Chowpatty||Hindi|
|1977||Naav Motha Lakshan Khota||Marathi|
|1977||Jait Re Jait||Marathi|
|1977||Mansa Paris Mendhra Bari||Marathi|
|1979||Do Ladke Dono Kadke||Champa's husband||Hindi|
|1979||Do Ladke Dono Kadke||Champa's husband||Hindi|
|1979||Sunbai Oti Bharun Ja|
|1979||Meri Biwi Ki Shaadi||Fernandes||Hindi|
|1979||Aaitya Bilavar Nagoba||Bhujangrao||Marathi|
|1980||Sau Din Saas Ke||Khubchand (Lalla Ji)||Hindi|
|1981||Kasam Bhawani Ki||Maniram Lala|
|1981||Naram Garam||Guruji||Hindi||(Special appearance)|
|1981||Satichi Punyayee||Kishenseth Thorat|
|1981||Mosambi Narangi||Mumbaji alias Suryajirao||Marathi|
|1982||Laxmichi Paule||Sudama Pawar|
|1982||Galli Te Dilli||Saheb||Marathi|
|1982||Don Baika Phajeeti Aika||Aburao|
|1982||Diste Tasa Naste||Sarjerao Patil (Anna)|
|1982||Aplech Daat Aplech Oth||Nana|
|1983||Gumnaam Hai Koi|
|1983||Zara Si Zindagi||Jaggu (Kusum's father)||Hindi|
|1983||Woh Saat Din||Maya's maternal grandfather||Hindi|
|1983||Sasu Varchad Javai||Jyotish (Gangaram Teli) Golaram Teli|
|1983||Kashyala Udyachi Baat||Nilkanth Sagle|
|1983||Baiko Asavi Ashi||Balu (Balaram Mohite)||Marathi|
|1984||Aao Jao Ghar Tumhara|
|1984||Zakhmi Sher||Lala (Anandi's father)||Hindi|
|1984||Thakas Mahathak||Sarpanch Nanasaheb Uchle|
|1984||Bin Kamacha Navra||Sahebrao|
|1985||Gaon Tasa Changla Pan Veshila Tangla||Hindurao||Marathi|
|1985||Dhagala Lagli Kala||Marathi|
|1986||Kaanch Ki Deewar||Lakhsmi Singh||Hindi|
|1986||Insaaf Ki Awaaz||Balwant Azaad||Hindi|
|1986||Bijli||Niluba - Sonar||Marathi|
|1986||Mi Chairman Boltoy||Marathi|
|1987||Porichi Dhamaal Baapachi Kamaal||Digamber Avdhoot|
|1987||Kalatay Pan Valat Nahi||Raosaheb Deshmukh|
|1987||Jaago Hua Savera||Hindi|
|1987||Bhatak Bhavani||Landge Saheb||Marathi|
|1988||Aurat Teri Yehi Kahani||Thakur||Hindi|
|1988||Maza Pati Karodpati||Laxmikant Kuber||Marathi|
|1988||Tamacha||Jwala Pratap Singh||Hindi|
|1988||Bandivan Mee Hya Sansari|
|1988||Saglikade Bombabomb||Appasaheb Dharadhar||Marathi|
|1988||Mamla Porincha||Nilu Bhau|
|1988||Majjach Majja||Kaka Saheb||Marathi|
|1989||Prem Pratigyaa||Mohan 'Dadhu' Rao||Hindi|
|1989||Oonch Neech Beech||Sadhu||Hindi|
|1989||Hamaal De Dhamaal||Nilkanth Phule|
|1989||Ek Ratra Manterleli||Ramsharan||Marathi|
|1989||Auntyne Wajavli Ghanti||Dhanajirao||Marathi|
|1990||Patli Re Patli||Mamasaheb|
|1990||Disha||Dashrath 'Dadji' Mandre||Hindi|
|1990||Dhamal Bablya Ganpyachi||Narsinghrao|
|1991||Halad Rusli Kunku Hasla||Dadasaheb|
|1991||Pratikaar||Dadasaheb / Appaji||Hindi|
|1992||Zunz Tujhi Majhi||Bapujirao 'Nagoji' Nagvekar||Marathi|
|1992||Than Than Gopal||Gopal Rao|
|1992||Ek Hota Vidushak||Nana||Marathi|
|1995||Limited Manuski||Jyotshi Archarya||Marathi|
|1996||Durga Aali Ghara||Dadasaheb Deshmukh|
|1996||Ashi Asavi Sasu||Mama|
|1998||Ghar Bazar||Kishan Murari||Hindi|
|2004||Saatchya Aat Gharat||Marathi|
|2005||Chalta Hai Yaar||Malhar Rao Patil||Hindi|
|2008||Gaav Tasa Chaangla||Marathi|
|2009||Goshta Choti Dongraevadhi||Marathi||Guest Appearance his last film before he died|
|2010||Ladi Godi||Rajesh's Dead Grandfather||(final film role)|
- "Marathi actor Nilu Phule passes away". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 13 July 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Nilu Phule was a gardener before an actor". Rediff.com. 14 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Dubey, Bharati; Pronoti Datta (14 July 2009). "Veteran actor Nilu Phule makes his final exit". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Contractor, Huned. "The man behind the villain". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema | Forbes India". Forbes India. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- Award for Nilu Phule