As long as actor, producer, singer, music director Sushila Rani Patel lived, she dedicated the month of April to the memory of her husband, Baburao Patel, India’s pioneering film journalist, who dared to unmask the dream-merchants, a trend gradually picked up by future glossies. Baburao launched India’s first film magazine Film India in 1935 and it was the most popular publication of its time, widely appreciated for its bold stand and his saucy style of writing. It was said his columns made and broke careers and filmmakers dreaded his acid reviews because they invariably proved true at the box-office. He was the most hated and the most sought-after journalist in show business that time.
Born to an illustrious advocate at the Bombay High Court Baburao due to personal reasons was unable to complete his schooling but spent all his time browsing in his father’s library at home. He was self-taught and adventurous. After becoming an adult, he dropped his original surname Patil and altered it to Patel without consulting anyone in the family.
A few years after launching the publication, Baburao forayed into film production. He wrote, produced and directed Kismet in 1929, Mahananda, Bala Joban, Maharani and Chand Ka Tukda between 1932-35 and made Draupadi, and Gwalan starring his wife Sushila Rani in 1944 and 1946 respectively.
To be continued