S. N. Patankar

  (Redirected from Shree Nath Patankar)

Shree Nath Patankar (?-1941) was an Indian producer, director, and cameraman. Referred to as "one of the early pioneers of Indian Cinema",[1] his influence is stated to be equal to that of Dadasaheb Phalke. He was one of a wide range of people who filmed the historic Delhi Durbar in 1911 held for King George V, Emperor of India. The Durbar was also filmed by Madan and Hiralal Shah, another professional photographer from Bombay.

Shree Nath Patankar
Shree Nath Patankar

early 1880s
OccupationDirector, cinematographer, producer
Years active1912–1926

Patankar initially teamed up with V. P. Divekar and A. P. Karandikar, with the renowned freedom fighter and Nationalist leader, Lokmanya Tilak, helping them in getting finance from Bhagwandas Chaturbhuj and Dharamdas Narayandas, two well-established financiers. Their debut production in 1912, Savitri, directed by Patankar was unsuccessful. The three formed a production company called Patankar Union in 1913. They produced The Death Of Narayanrao Peshwa also called The Murder Of Narayanrao Peshwa in 1915, which has been cited as the first historical film of Indian cinema, as well as the mythological Ram Vanvas (The Exile Of Rama) (1918).[2]

Patankar went on to form Patankar Friends and Company with Dwarkadas Sampat who had joined them in 1917, producing and directing Kach-Devyani (1920).[3] He also worked as an actor in films like Mahashweta Kadambari (1922), Videhi Janak (1923), and Vaman Avatar (1923), which were directed by him. In a career-span of fifteen years covering 1912-1926, he made over forty films.[1]

According to Rajadhyaksha and Willemen, Patankar's "historicals and mythologicals were among the most professionally made films before the studio era (pre-1925)".[4]


Born in the early 1880s,[4] he worked as "a decorator in Chitre's Coronation Cinema in Bombay".[1] His interest in still photography led him to purchase a film camera from H. S. Bhatawadekar, a professional photographer in Bombay.[2] One of his early works along with V.P. Divekar and A.P. Karandikar, using Bhatwadekar's camera, was filming the famed Delhi Durbar in 1911. This was held in Delhi, India to commemorate the coronation of King George V. They also filmed the funeral of Lokmanya Tilak in 1920.[5]

He formed a partnership with V.P. Divekar, A.P. Karandikar, Ranade and Bhatkande to set up the production company called Patankar Union. Their initial production Savitri, a "hundred-foot-long film and produced in 1912",[5] was a washout as the film came out blank.[1] In 1915 they produced Murder Of Narayanrao Peshwa, which was directed by Patankar. The film is cited as one of the first historical film made in India. Patankar went on to be the cinematographer as well as the director for all his films.

Patankar's association with Dwarkadas Sampat in 1917, led to the formation of his second production company called Patankar Friends and Company from 1918 to 1920, with scripts written by Mohanlal Dave. Patankar's first film with this company, King Shriyal, was released in 1918. He made Ram Vanvas or Exile of Lord Rama (1918) in four parts, thus making it the first Indian serial. KachDevyani (1920), directed and photographed by Patankar, had a Gujarati milieu, with traditional and folk dances incorporated in the film. Instead of using male actors in female roles as was the norm, Sampat organised two girls from Calcutta to play female lead.[3]

Sampat and Patankar separated soon by 1920, due to disagreements and Patankar started a third studio, National Film (1922), which was financed by Thakurdas Vakil and Harilal. He then set up a fourth production house called Pioneer Films with the help of Vazir Haji, who financed him.[3]


List of films:[6]

Year Title
1912 Savitri
1913 Jaimini
1915 The Death of Narayanrao Peshwa
1916 Prahlad Charitra
1917 Bhakta Pralhad
1918 Raja Shriyal
Ram Vanvas a.k.a. Exile Of Rama
1919 Kabir Kamal
Kacha Devayani
Narasinh Avatar
1920 Katorabhar Khoon
Sati Madalasa
Sita Swayamvar
Vichitra Gutika
1922 Bhakta Bodana
King Bhartrahari
Mahashweta Kadambari
Sati Anjani
1923 Krishna Satyabhama
Sati Veermati
Shri Dnyaneshwar
Shri Krishna Bhakta Peepaji
Vaman Avatar
Vanraj Chavdo
Videhi Janak
Durvas Shaap
Shri Markandeya Avatar
Guru Machhindranath
1924 Karan Ghelo
1926 Abola Rani
Chatra Bakavali
Dorangi Duniya
Kacha Devayani
Paanch Mahabhoot


  1. ^ a b c d Arif, Salim. "The Sultans of the silent era". kiagia.com. KIAGIA.com. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Richard Abel (2005). "Topic:Patankar Friends and Company.". Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. Taylor & Francis. pp. 502–. ISBN 978-0-415-23440-5. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanayake (17 April 2013). Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas. Routledge. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-1-136-77291-7. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen (10 July 2014). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Taylor & Francis. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-1-135-94325-7. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Ashok Raj (1 November 2009). Hero Vol.1. Hay House, Inc. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-93-81398-02-9. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "S. N. Patankar (Katorabhar Khoon)". indiancine.ma. indiancine.ma. Retrieved 28 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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