Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Nilu Phule

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Occupation  Stage/Film Actor
Died  July 13, 2009, Pune
Years active  1968–2009
Spouse  Rajani Phule (m. ?–2009)
Name  Nilu Phule
Children  Gargi Phule Thatte
Role  Actor

Full Name  Nilkanth Krushnaji Phule
Born  1930/1931Pune, India
Movies  Bin Kamacha, Saaransh, Sinhasan, Pinjra, Jait Re Jait
Similar People  Ashok Saraf, Ranjana Deshmukh, Usha Chavan, Laxmikant Berde, Dada Kondke

Nilu phule documentary

Nilu Phule (died 13 July 2009) was an Indian actor known for his roles in the Marathi language movies and Marathi theatre. Nilu Phule acted in around 250 Marathi and Hindi movies during his film career. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and iconic actors to have graced the Marathi Cinema. He was most prominently seen the movies playing roles of notorious villians.


Phule was also a social worker, and was associated with Rashtra Seva Dal.

Anupan kher nilu phule in superhit scene saaransh

Early life

Nilu Phule was born in 1930 in Pune as Nilkanth Krushnaji Phule to the clan of the great social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. He is considered one of the greatest actors of Marathi stage/films of all time. He was involved in Freedom movement for India. According to his interview in a serial 'Vastraharan' on a Marathi Channel, he was a freedom fighter from Pune.

Phule's first job was that of a gardener at the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, aged 17. He used to get a salary of Rs. 80 per month, out of which, he used to donate Rs. 10 to the Rashtriya Seva Dal, a social organization he was involved with. He wanted to pursue his gardening career forward, but due to lack of financial support, he could not start his own plant nursery. During this time, at the age of 20, Nilu was inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's writings and went on to write a drama, Udyan. His composing for the drama Yedya Gabalache Kam Nahi during the 1957 Lok Sabha elections garnered him fame.

Acting career

Nilu Phule began his theatrical career with the Marathi folk performances (loknatya). His first professional drama was Katha Akalecha Kandyachi, which went on to have over 2000 shows. It was based on this success that he was offered his first movie Ek Gaav Baara Bhanagadi, by Anant Mane in 1968.

Nilu often played villains; most notably his portrayal of Sakharam Binder. Some of his notable film roles include: Hindurao Dhonde Patil, a zamindar and a sugar tycoon in Samna (film), a power-drunk politician in Mahesh Bhatt's Saaransh and a political journalist in Jabbar Patel's Sinhasan.

He also played the role of 'Nathu Mama' in the 1983 hit Hindi movie Coolie where he worked with Amitabh Bachchan.

One of Phule's most notable theatrical performances include his role as the eponymous hero of Vijay Tendulkar's Sakharam Binder (first staged in 1972). Kamlakar Sarang, who directed the first production of the play in 1972, was apprehensive of Phule's reticence. However, he was convinced that Phule would be fit for the role, when Vijay Tendulkar reminded him of Phule's aggressive performance as a minister in another play, Katha Aklechya Kandyachi.

He was known for his legendary voice and dialogue delivery. His dialogue 'Bai Waadyavar Yaa' (which roughly translates to 'come to my palace') which was meant to intimidate women in his films remains one of the most popular dialogues across Marathi Film Industry. It is said that his acting in villainous roles in movies was so surreal that women in real life would despise him thinking that he was the same deviant person in real life too, and that was a great compliment to his works.

In May 2013, when Forbes India, the Indian edition of American Business Magazine Forbes, declared 25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema, the list was completed with this legend's name for his performance as Hindurao Dhonde Patil in the film Samna (film).


Nilu Phule died on 13 July 2009, aged 78, from esophageal cancer. His wife Rajani Phule died in 2011. He is survived by his daughter Gargi Phule Thatte.


  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991), by the President of India
  • Maharashtra State Award for Haat lavin tithe sone (1973)
  • Maharashtra State Award for Saamna (1974)
  • Maharashtra State Award for Choricha Mamla (1975)
  • References

    Nilu Phule Wikipedia