From 1950s onwards the Golden Age in Marathi cinema ushered. It was traditionally influenced by its rich tradition of theatre, the humorous 'tamasha' style in particular. Firmly 'Maratha centric', some of the films produced in this period are enduring milestones in the history of Indian cinema.
The historical Ramshajtri (1944) was directed by Gajanan Jagirdar. The film remains popular to this day in Maharashtra an amongst film buffs. The film's splendid costumes and sets, the story of the legendary eponymous Peshwa-era judge was beautifully portrayed on the silver screen by the Maratha director.
Bhalji Pendharkar was a specialist in mythological and historical drama. He made Maharani Yesubai in 1954. This film, too, is set in the heroic era of the Maratha Empire founded by Shivaji, as a matter of fact, in the reign of his indomitable daughter Yesubai.
Pendharkar made 3 other noteworthy films all set in the same period: Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952), Mohityanchi Manjula (1963) and Maratha Tikuta Melvava (1964).
Prahlad Keshav Atre was fondly known as Acharya Atre. He is another prominent Maratha director of the Golden Era. His movies include Bramhachari, Shyamchi Aai, Premveer (Scriptwriter), Dharmveer (Scriptwriter), Brandichi Batali (Scriptwriter), Paayaachi Daasi (Producer) and Mahatma Phule. He received the Best Indian Movie award in 1953 for his film Shyamchi Aai and his other film Mahatma Phule (1955) was rewarded with the President's Silver Medal. Other Maratha directors from this era were L.B.Thakur, Vinayak Sarasvate, Bal Chavan and Madhav Shinde. Raja Paranjpe was another Marathi director and actor who remained active till 1975. He made films such as Pedgaonche Shahane (1952). Another successful Maratha director in Indian cinema was the prolific Anant Mane. His film Sangte Aika (1959) was a major hit. The film was a superb musical in the Tamasha style with an anti-zamindar vengeance theme.
Another Maratha director who deserves mention is Vijay Bhatt. A Gujarati by birth, Vijay Jagneshwar Bhatt lent his lustre both to Marathi and Hindi cinema. One film for which Bhatt will always be remembered is Baiju Bawra. Meena Kumari played in her first lead role in this film. The role of the protagonist was played by Bharat Bhushan. In 1959, more success came Bhatt's way with Goonj Uthi Shahnai. This particular film paid homage to the greatest shehnai player of the century, Ustad Bismillah Khan.
Other prominent Maratha directors are Vinayak Thakur, G. Chaugule, Atmaram, Satyadev Dubey, Sharad Pilgaonkar and others. Some of these directors have only made one feature film and have further worked as screenplay writers and dialogue writers.
Krishna Kondke was popularly known as Dada Kondke. He is one of the most renowned personalities of Maratha film industry. He has made film, such as, Songadya (1971), Pandu Hawaldar (1975), Eakta Jeev Sadashiv (1972), Hyoch Navra Pahije (1980), Aalee Angawar (19187) and others.
Jabbar Razak Patel is another Maratha director who is well known for making classic films. Movies, such as, Jait Re Jait, Umbartha, Simhasan, Mukta, Ek Hota Vidushak, and Musafir (Hindi) are accredited to him. He is winner of 1995 Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration for his Marathi film, Mukta.
Amongst the contemporary Maratha directors there is Govind Nihalani, Amol Palekar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar, Gajendra Ahire, Bipin Nadkarni and Nishikant Kamat. The Maratha cinema has also benefited from Maratha directors like Shamrao Mane, Vasant Joglekar, Murlidhar Kapdi, Jayu and Nachiket Patwardhan, Ashok Saraf, V. K. Naik, N. S. Vaidya, Mahesh Kothari, Sanjay Rawal, Nichiket and Jayoo Patwardhan, Sanjay Soorkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar and Chandrakant Kulkarni. All these Maratha directors have made award-winning films.