The duo turned to cinema after they saw Dadasaheb Phalke's film, Raja Harishchandra. Initially, Baburao and his cousin turned to cinema by becoming exhibitors and attempting to assemble their own camera. After Anandrao's death in 1916 and Baburao Painter and his disciple V.G. Damle, ultimately assembled an operational camera in 1918.
Filmography of Baburao Painter
Painter floated the Maharashtra Film Company with the support of the local nobility and friends. His first film, Sairandhri, was a commercial success and received critical appreciation. In 1925, he directed a mythological film, Maya Bazaar. He followed it with Sinhagad and Kalyan Khajina. Both these films were based on episodes from Shivaji's life. The enormous popularity of Sinhagad led to the levying of an entertainment tax by the government. Baburao Painter is also credited with having introduced finer methods of art direction and techniques of filming. He also pioneered the use of indoor electric lighting.
However, Baburao Painter's artistic masterpiece remains Savkari Pash. Often described as India's first realistic film, it portrayed the plight of poor farmers at the hands of moneylenders. The film, however, did not do well at the box office because of its solemn theme. He made a talkie version of Savkari Pash in 1936. His other films include Pratibha, Sadhvi Meerabai, Rukmini Swayamvar, Matwala Shayar Ram Joshi and Usha. Besides the Marathi films Baburao Painter is also known to have directed Hindi films as well.
Apart from direction, he also acted in few films like Kalyan Khajina in 1924 and Sinhagad in 1923, where he played the role of Emperor Shivaji. Moreover he was the writer of the film Sairandhri, released in 1920. Baburao Painter was also an ace cinematographer. As a cinematographer, he worked on the films, Sairandhri in 1920, Surekha Haran in 1921, Bhagwata Bhakta Damaji in 1922, Vatsalaharan 1923, Sati Padmini and Shri Krishna Avatar in 1924, Shahala Shah, Rana Hamir, Maya Bazaar and Savkari Pash in 1925, Bhakta Pralhad, Gaj Gauri in 1926, Muraliwala, Sati Savitri and Netaji Palkar in 1927, Keechaka Vadha and Karna in 1928, Prem Sangam in 1931, Usha in 1935, Matwala Shair Ramjoshi in 1947, Mahajan in 1953.
The films directed by Baburao Painter are as follows: