Dr. Jabbar Patel is an acclaimed film maker and theater personality of India. He is best known for his landmark films in Marathi like 'Saamna', 'Sinhasan', 'Jait Re Jait' and 'Umbartha', and the biopic 'Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar'. One of his best creations is the late Vijay Tendulkar's play 'Ghashiram Kotwal', which is considered as a modern day theater classic in India. He founded the 'Theatre Academy' experimental drama group in Pune in the early 70s, which has presented some inspiring Marathi plays over the years.
Dr. Jabbar Patel originally studied to be a paediatrician . But his love for theatre drew him away from the medical profession.
His talents as a film maker are extraordinary. He has not shied away from tackling even the most difficult subjects, so long as he is convinced of their merit. He made films like Saamna and Sinhasan which took a dig at the then political establishments, something that was considered taboo by all the filmmakers of that time. Sinhasan, was amongst the first multi-starrer films in Marathi, in which some of the best artistes played major roles and gave brilliant performances under the able direction of Dr. Jabbar Patel. Along with Vijay Tendulkar, who drew a lot of criticism for writing Ghashiram Kotwal, Jabbar Patel too had to face the people's anger for having directed and staged it.
He has always handled his subjects with great care and detail. Sensitive subjects like Umbartha, Ek Hota Vidushak or Mukta were very well made and presented and gave great artistic pleasure to the viewers. He has also made a lot of documentary films for the Government of Maharashtra.
He takes great care in detailing, which is evident from films like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar or plays like Ghashiram Kotwal, where a lot of attention is given to present an authentic look to the periods during which these stories took place.
He has the ability to inspire his actors to perform difficult roles with great finesse. Although he takes care to caste some of the best actors for all the major characters, they too respond to him with some electrifying performances. Mohan Agashe as Nana Phadnavis in Ghashiram Kotwal and as Nagya in Jait re Jait, Mammootty as Dr. Ambedkar, Smita Patil as Sulabha in Umbartha and as Chingi in Jait re Jait, the veritable Nilu Phule and Dr. Shriram Lagoo in Saamna, Ashok Lokhande as Yashwantrao Chavan in the Marathi biopic ‘Yashwantrao - Bakhar Eka Vadalachi’ are cases in point.
Dr. Jabbar Patel's Contribution to Indian Cinema and Theatre
Dr. Jabbar Patel has been an inspiration to all those who want to make quality films and indulge in quality theatre, whether professional or experimental. His creations have also been very well received at the national and international levels.
Almost all of his feature films are on offbeat subjects or on the extraordinary achievements of the common man. He also loves making biopics of great personalities as well as documentaries, which can be seen from the films he has made on personalities like the Architect of Indian Constitution Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, famous Marathi writer and multifaceted personality P. L. Deshpande and Santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Kumar Gandharva etc. Dr. Jabbar Patel has also been a mentor & a teacher of great repute. He is the former Vice Chairman of Film & Television Institute of India, Pune & a member on the board of Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata.
Under the tutelage of Dr. Jabbar Patel, MITSFT students are bound to become enriched film makers.