Khote in Amar Jyoti (1936)
|Native name||दुर्गा खोटे|
14 January 1905|
Mumbai, Bombay Presidency, British India
|Died||22 September 1991
Mumbai, Maharashtra. India
|Occupation||actor, film producer|
Durga Khote (14 January 1905 − 22 September 1991) was an Indian actress, starting as one of the foremost leading ladies of her times, she remained active in Hindi and Marathi cinema, as well as theatre, for over 50 years, starring in around 200 films and numerous theatre productions.
In 2000, in a millennium issue, India Today named her among "100 People Who Shaped India", noting, "Durga Khote marks the pioneering phase for woman in Indian Cinema" as she was one of the first women from respectable families to enter the film industry, thus breaking a social taboo.
She also ranks among the top ten actresses in mother roles in Hindi cinema, most notable among them were as Jodhabai in K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960), as Kaikeyi in Vijay Bhatt's classic, Bharat Milap (1942); her other memorable roles as mother were in Charnon Ki Dasi (1941), Mirza Ghalib, Bobby (1973) and Bidaai (1974). She was received the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1983), for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.
She was born as Vita Laud, to a family which hailed from Goa and spoke Konkani at home. Her father's name was Pandurang Laud and her mother's name was Manjulabai. She grew up in a large joint family in Kandewadi. She was educated at Cathedral High School and St. Xavier's College where she studied B.A. While still in college, she married into the Khote family, graduated and settled down with her husband.
By the age of 26, Durga Khote was a widowed mother with two young sons, Bakul and Harin. She had to seek work in film to support her children. In doing so, she became a pioneer of sorts: She hailed from a traditional family and the film industry was regarded as the preserve of the base and the bawdy. Also, most of the female characters were played by men at the time.
Durga Khote debuted in a minor role in an obscure 1931 silent film, Farebi Jaal, by the Prabhat Film Company, followed by Maya Machindra (1932). She was soon promoted to play heroine in the 1932 double version (Hindi and Marathi) Ayodhyecha Raja, another Prabhat film, which was the first-ever Marathi talkie and proved to be a runaway hit, where she played the role of Rani Taramati. Indeed, she ventured yet another pioneering trend: Despite working closely with Prabhat Film Company, she broke away from the "studio system" (exclusive contract with a studio to work in its films on a monthly salary) then in vogue and became one of the first "freelance" artistes of that era by working occasionally with the New Theatres, East India Film Co. (both at Calcutta), and Prakash Pictures.
In 1937, she produced and directed a film titled Saathi, making her one of the first women to step into this role in Indian cinema. The 40s opened for her in a big way, with award-winning performances in Aachary Atre's Payachi Dasi(Marathi) and Charnon Ki Dasi (Hindi) (1941) and Vijay Bhatt's classic, Bharat Milap (1942), both of which got her the BFJA Best Actress Award for two consecutive years.
Durga Khote remained active in theatre circuit for many years, especially the Marathi theatre in Mumbai. She was actively associated with the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) and worked in several plays for the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh. In 1954, she famously performed the role of Lady Macbeth, in V.V. Shirwadkar's Marathi adaptations of Macbeth, as Rajmukut, The Royal Crown, along with Nanasaheb Phatak.
Durga Khote played a wide variety of roles over a career that was not only long but also untouched by scandal. She was the inspiration for several generations of Indian actresses, including veterans like the late Shobhna Samarth, who frequently spoke of how she had been inspired by Khote's example.
During later years, she played several important character roles, such as the mother of the protagonist. Her portrayal of Jodhabai, the queen of Akbar torn between duty towards her husband and love towards her son in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) was well received. She went on to play other widely appreciated character roles in later movies such as the role of the grandmother of the heroine in Bobby (1973), the hero's aunt in Abhimaan (1973), and thee really memorable Bidaai (1974), where she played a mother, a very sensitive role that can make one cry and received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.
She acted in over 200 films in her career. By the 1980s she successfully diversified into production of short films, ad films and documentaries by setting up Fact Films and, later, Durga Khote Productions, which produced the Doordarshan TV series Wagle Ki Duniya.
Her two sons Bakul and Harin were born from her first marriage with Vishwanath Khote. It was a traditional marriage into an orthodox family. Vishwanath Khote was from a millionaire family who were, at that time, the largest share brokers and road contractors. Vishwanath was a mechanical engineer from Banaras Hindu University who died young. After she was widowed, Khote had an unsuccessful second marriage to Mohammed Rashid.[not in citation given] Harin himself died at a young age, and was survived by his wife, Vijaya Mehta and two sons.
Her grandchildren include Ravi, a filmmaker; granddaughter Anjali Khote; grandson Deven Khote, a television producer, and a noted film producer, making films like Jodhaa Akbar and Life in a Metro.
Sharda Mukherjee, the ex governor of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and wife of India's first air chief marshal Subroto Mukherjee was her first cousin (mother's sister's daughter). Sharda Mukherjee's paternal uncle Ranjit Sitaram Pandit was married to Jawaharlal Nehru's sister Vijaylaxmi Pandit.
Her brother-in-law, Nandu Khote, was a noted stage and silent movie actor. His daughter Shubha Khote acted in Hindi films; debuting in Seema (1955), she later directed and produced Marathi films and entered television in the 90s. Viju Khote, most known for his role of Kalia in Sholay (1975) is a noted character actor, and younger brother of Shubha. Shubha's daughter, Bhavna Balsaver, is an award-winning TV actress. They appeared together in 1993's sitcom Zabaan Sambhalke on DD Metro.
|1932||Ayodhyecha Raja||Taramati||Hindi/Marathi film|
|1932||Maya Machhindra||Queen||Hindi/Marathi film|
|1935||Jeevan Natak||Miss Queen|
|1940||Narsi Bhagat||Manekbai||Gujarati/Hindi film|
|1941||Charnon Ki Dasi / Payachi Dasi||Vidya's mother-in-law||Hindi / Marathi film|
|1942||Bharat Milap||Maharani Kaikeyi||Hindi/Marathi film|
|1950||Har Har Mahadev|
|1954||Mirza Ghalib||Amma, Chaudvin's mother|
|1954||Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu|
|1957||Musafir||Mrs. Nilambar Sharma|
|1959||Ghar Ghar Ki Baat|
|1959||Maine Jeena Seekh Liya|
|1960||Mughal-E-Azam||Maharani Jodha Bai|
|1960||Parakh||Rani Ma, J.C. Roy's mother|
|1960||Love in Simla||Sonia's grandmother|
|1960||Usne Kaha Tha|
|1961||Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan||Prabha's mother|
|1961||Kismet Palat Ke Dekh|
|1962||Main Shadi Karne Chala|
|1962||Man-Mauji||Dr. Mohan's mother|
|1962||Son of India||Head Nun|
|1963||The Householder||Prem's Mother|
|1963||Mujhe Jeene Do|
|1964||Door Ki Awaaz||Prakash's mother|
|1964||Main Suhagan Hoon|
|1965||Purnima||Sharda R. Lal|
|1966||Daadi Maa||Daadi Maa/Maharani|
|1966||Pyar Mohabbat||Rajmata Rajeshwari|
|1967||Chandan Ka Palna||Mrs. Radha Laxmidas|
|1968||Jhuk Gaya Aasman||Mrs. Saxena|
|1968||Sapno Ka Saudagar||Peter's mother|
|1968||Sunghursh||Mrs. Bhawani Prasad|
|1969||Dharti Kahe Pukarke|
|1969||Ek Phool Do Mali||Leela|
|1969||Jeene Ki Raah||Janki|
|1969||Pyar Ka Sapna||Sudha's mother|
|1971||Anand||Renu's Mother||Guest Appearance|
|1971||Banphool||Haria's maternal grandma|
|1971||Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari||Rajlaxmi S. Chaudhary|
|1972||Mere Bhaiya||Avinash's Mother|
|1973||Namak Haraam||Somu's Mother|
|1974||Bidaai||Parvati||Won 1975 Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1974||Dil Diwana||Vijay's Dadimaa|
|1975||Kala Sona||Mrs. Ranjeet Singh|
|1976||Jai Bajrang Bali||Devi Maa Anjani|
|1977||Chacha Bhatija||Mrs. D'Silva|
|1977||Paheli||Brij Mohan's mother|
|1977||Saheb Bahadur||Meena's grandmother|
|1979||Chor Sipahee||Mrs. Khanna, Raja's mother|
|1980||Karz||Mrs. Shanta Prasad Verma|
|1983||Daulat Ke Dushman||Sunil's mother|
|1942||Charnon Ki Dasi||BFJA Awards: Best Actress||Won|
|1943||Bharat Milap||BFJA Awards: Best Actress||Won|
|1968||–||Padma Shri, fourth highest civilian award by the Government of India.||Awarded|
|1970||Dhartichi Lekre||Maharashtra State Award||Won|
|1974||Bidaai||Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award||Won|
|1983||–||Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the lifetime recognition award for films from Government of India||Awarded|
Honours and recognitions
A postage stamp, bearing her face, was released by India Post to honour her on 3 May 2013.
- Women of Substance, India Today.
- Ten most important women stars in Indian films Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Rediff.com.
- Memorable Moms The Statesman, 4 October 2008.
- "Durga Khote Profile on Cineplot.com".
- Profile with photographs
- Ashok Raj (1 November 2009). Hero Vol.1. Hay House, Inc. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-93-81398-02-9. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Tilak Rishi (2012). Bless You Bollywood!: A Tribute to Hindi Cinema on Completing 100 Years. Trafford Publishing. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-1-4669-3963-9. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Dadasaheb Phalke Award 15th Recipient – 1983 – Durga Khote
- Shakespeare in India internetshakespeare.uvic.ca
- Filmography on Allmovie.
- Filmography on The New York Times.
- A Durga Khote production, The Times of India, 5 March 2006.
- Shanta Gokhale (26 November 2012). "Life at play". Pune Mirror.
- Durga Khote profile Washington State University
- Deven Khote The New York Times.
- An Interview with Shobha Khote Rediff.com.
- The Forgotten Bollywood bhai-behan Brigade Bollywood Hungama, 9 August 2006.
- Autobiography – details from Oxford University Press website
- 5th Annual BFJA Awards – Awards For The Year 1941 BFJA Awards Official website.
- 6th Annual BFJA Awards – Awards For The Year 1942 BFJA Awards Official website.
- I, Durga Khote: An autobiography, translated into English by Shanta Gokhale (2006); ISBN 978-0-19-567475-0 & ISBN 0-19-567475-8
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