Baburao Krishnarao Mestry ‘Painter’
Baburao Krishnarao Mestry was born on 3 June 1890 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. A self-taught artist, sculptor and filmmaker, he was one of the leading painters of stage backdrops in Western India in the early 20th century, alongside his cousin Anandrao Painter. His adopted last name "Painter" identified him with his art. Baburao and Anandrao also procured a film projector to exhibit movies, while learning about the process of filmmaking and aiming to assemble their own camera. After his cousin's death, Baburao continued with this goal alongside a disciple, and succeeded in building a camera in 1918. An assistant of the acclaimed producer, director and screenwriter Dadasaheb Phalke, Painter also established the Maharashtra Film Company in Kolhapur in 1918.Associated with many films of the silent era including Sinhagad (1923) and Pratibha (1937), Baburao made a name for himself in the film industry, directing and writing his own movies and also sketching costumes, movements, characters and sets for them - a process known as the "stenographic method." His films encompassed diverse themes, from social issues to mythology and history. Painter also pioneered the use of multidimensional sets, artificial indoor lighting, and the printing of materials such as posters and booklets to publicise his films.With the decline of silent films, Painter returned to art and sculpture. Among the latter was his creation of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Kolhapur.Baburao Painter passed away in Kolhapur on 16 January 1954. The Kolhapur International Film Festival (KIFF) has named the Kalamaharshi Baburao Painter Award after him, which honours exceptional filmmakers for their contribution to the industry.
His exhibit with us is titled Krishna and Arjun, an oil on cloth made in 1920.