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Dharmatma, 1975

Dharmatma (One Who is Saint-like), 1975, Museum Series

showcard, c. 1975, 35 X 59 cm (13.8 X 23.2 inches)
gelatin silver print and poster paint on textured board with screen-printed lettering
(what is a showcard?)

Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema ShowcardsIndian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980sShowcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011, p. 101, Cat. no. 49.

Feroz Khan produced, directed, and starred in Dharmatma, an epic film and blockbuster hit inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. The lead character of this film was based on the kingpin of the ‘matka’ gambling craze that swept Bombay in the 1970s. Feroz Khan is said to have spent time with the legendary gambler Ratan Khatri, as research for the role. The film took nearly 3 years to make and was shot in Khan’s ancestoral Afghanistan.

"The first Bollywood movie to be shot in Afghanistan, this film was an attempt to localize the narrative of Hollywood’s The Godfather. A rich, powerful man, Premnath, comes to the aid of the neediest people, leading him to be known as “Dharmatma” (One Who is Saint-like). But Premnath leads a parallel life as a gangster and his son threatens to expose him. Personal ethics clash with blood loyalty and Premnath decides never to concede defeat even if it means the death of his son.

The showcard features a horse chase made up of several film stills united by painted puffs of dust, while a glamorous Hema Malini gazes directly at the viewer.

The film Dharmatma (1975) was produced by Feroz Khan of F. K. International and directed by Feroz Khan. Music by Kalyanji Anandji. Colour (Eastmancolor), Hindi, starring Feroz Khan, Premnath, Rekha and Hema Malini."

--Additional text by Dr. Deepali Dewan and Alexandra McCarter, based on Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Showcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011. Copyright of and reproduced here with the generous permission of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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