?Only by reading epics and thinking high, an abla cannot become sabla.? This is what prompted Lakshmibai Kelkar, the founder of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, to make women stronger, not just physically but emotionally and morally. Rashtriya Sevika Samiti has now brought the life and works of Mausiji live on celluloid by producing a telefilm to mark her birth centenary, celebrated all over the country recently. Shubhangi Damle, has played the lead role as Lakshmibai Kelkar. The telefilm is based on Kelkar'sbiography, Deepjyoti Namostutue, written by veteran Samiti activist, Sushilatai Mahajan who also worked with her for many years. Dr Vidya Deodhar, who is associated with ETV, has done research work on the film. Shri Deepak Khedkar scripted the dialogues and also directed the film. Shri Shank-Neel gave music.
The 2.15-hour film was screened in Delhi on March 22 at the packed Mavalankar auditorium in the presence of RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan, former Deputy Prime Minister and BJP president, Shri L.K. Advani, Smt. Ushatai Chati, Pramukh Sanchalika of the Samiti and others. The grandson and granddaughter-in-law of Lakshmibai Kelkar, were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri K.S. Sudarshan said that RSS was not anti-women, as is alleged by communists. He said the Sevika Samiti and the Sangh were moving parallel with common goals. ?As the Sangh work has spread all over the world the Samiti'swork is also spreading the world over. Both the organisations are working for all-round development of the country. I congratulate all those who have worked and contributed in this film,? he said.
Shri L.K. Advani, who released a compact disc of the film, said that any public movement in the 20th century that affected and bought a positive turn in the life of lakhs of people, cannot be other than the RSS. ?Vivekananda in his last days had stressed the need for ?man-making machinery?. Dr Hedgewar, the founder of RSS, turned his dream into reality and practically made lakhs of dedicated people into the type that Vivekananda wanted. Rashtra Sevika Samiti too has followed this pattern,? he added.
The film covers a life of around 75 years, of which almost 40-42 years were dedicated by Mausiji to the cause of nation-building. ?The making of the film involved the challenges of painting a huge canvas. While it is history, many people who have worked with Lakshmibai Kelkar and witnessed her work, are still alive. This crucial aspect also needed consideration. Sushila Mahajan who headed the cultural wing of the Samiti and Dr Vidya Deodhar, who has vast experience of scripting and other work with ETV, solved this problem successfully. Another challenge was also the fact that the audience of the film would be different from the usual audiences of films or documentaries,? said film director, Shri Deepak Khedkar.
According to Smt. Ushatai Chati, Pramukh Sanchalika of the Samiti, a brief documentary of the film in Marathi was screened by ETV on March 6, 2005. Zee Cinema also telecast it in Hindi on March 8. Soon the film with English subtitles, will be available in two CDs.
The actual filming commenced on August 3, 2004 in the presence of Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, MP and film-actress Baby Shakuntala. Most part of the film was shot at Kolhapur'sJayaprabha Shantikiran studio. The film has a number of real scenes. The Samiti vargas held at Nagpur, Ambarnath, Pune, Thane and Nigari and in shakhas were picturised at work. Some scenes were also picturised at the native place of Dr Hedgewar in Nagpur. Except for the main eight or ten artists, most of the other 35-40 roles were played by Sevikas of the Samiti themselves. The songs, Samtiti prayer, etc. were also sung by the Sevikas. The actual shooting was completed in 40 days in two phases. Another interesting fact is that the fund for the film was collected from the society and no industrial establishment or person sponsored it. The film depicts about 123 episodes on Mausiji'slife and two to three hours were required for shooting each scene.
The film shows how a 27-year-old widow, while bringing up her two step-daughters and six her own sons, was thinking about the welfare of the society and the country.
Having understood the people-centric personality of Mausiji and the 25 years of journey of the Samiti after her death, Tejtapaswini is a film worth seeing.