Rewind: The Actress as Swami Vivekananda that Never Was

There have been several instances where films that started with a lot of promise were shelved after a few days of shooting. Many films never started even after the script being ready and the cast locked. Yet others were completed but never saw the light of the day.

Sometime in the mid-1970s director Nabendu Ghosh started making a film titled Dagdar Baboo. The film was adapted from Phanishwar Nath Renu’s novel Maila Anchal, which is widely regarded as one of the major works in contemporary Hindi literature. Dagdar Baboo had Dharmendra, Jaya Bhaduri, and Utpal Dutt in the lead.

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The film closely followed the text which centered around a young doctor’s work among the tribals and rural people in a remote village in northeast Bihar during the 1942 Quit India Movement. The narrative highlighted the lifestyle, festivals, beliefs, superstitions, and the social oppression of the people in the region.


According to some veterans in the industry, the script of the film had a play, where Jaya was supposed to appear as Swami Vivekananda. The scenes were canned but the film had to be shelved after almost 70 percent of the shooting was complete because of a fallout between the producer and the distributors.

Dagdar Baboo was middle of the road cinema. Music for the film was composed by RD Burman. Nine songs were recorded but none of them are available today.

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Ghosh of course was an acclaimed screenwriter who wrote films like Sujata (1959), Bandini (1963), Teesri Kasam (1966), Abhimaan (1973), and others. We went on to direct the critically acclaimed Trishagni in 1988 with Alok Nath, Nana Patekar, and Pallavi Joshi in the lead.

It would have been interesting to see Jaya as Swami Vivekananda in Dagdar Baboo. But that was never supposed to be.

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An award winning journalist with loads of field experience. Hunting stories and writing on anything that demands attention. More of a nocturnal creature who believes that night is an extended day. A pure Kolkatan by heart. Lives and breathes the city

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