Ananth Narayan Mahadavan wraps social reform drama Phule in India

The film is produced by Dancing Shiva Productions and Kingsmen Productions

By Priyanca Rajput 10 Aug 2023

Ananth Narayan Mahadavan wraps social reform drama Phule in India
Credit: Dancing Shiva Productions

Ananth Narayan Mahadevan's social reform drama Phule has wrapped and entered post-production.

The film centres on the real life pioneers of women’s education in India. 

Jyotirao Govindrao Phule and his wife Savitribai were social activists known for their work against India’s caste system. Though the pair were forced into marriage - at a time where child marriage was endemic in India - Jyotirao elected to educate his wife and went on to campaign for increased rights for underprivileged. In 1888, the honorific Mahatma (great soul), a term later ascribed to political ethicist Gandhi, was bestowed to Phule.

Director Mahadevan described the their story to Variety: “The two of them are lethal, the husband and wife, because at a time when the girl child was being refused education and just pushed into marriage, Jyotirao chose to actually educate his little wife – she was just 11 at that time, he was 17 when they got married, because it was the time of child marriage."

The plight faced by the Phule's in the mid 1800's still exist in some parts of India. 

“It’s still there, it’s prevalent, all the issues that they addressed,” Mahadevan said. “Have I made a film that’s historic or futuristic? That’s the question you ask at the end of the film. We still haven’t sorted these issues out, whether it’s here [India] or the rest of the world. Gender discrimination and caste discrimination is prevalent everywhere today. The Phules emerge as icons for this fight that has been going on for generations.”

“Have we taken 10 steps back instead of taking two steps forward, or are we addressing this issue? So that makes this film very potent and we have treated it on an epic scale,” Mahadevan said.

The Phules are played by Pratik Gandhi (SonyLIV series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story) and Patralekhaa Paul (CityLights).

The film is produced by Dancing Shiva Productions’ Ritesh Kudecha, Anuya Chauhan Kudecha and Pranay Chokshi, who previously teamed on The Tashkent Files, and Suunil Jaiin of Kingsmen Productions.

Phule will premiere during the festival circuit in early 2024.

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