Krishna Kondke (August 8, 1932 – March 14, 1998), popularly known as Dada Kondke, was a Marathi actor and film producer. He was one of the most renowned personalities in Marathi film industry, famous for his double entendre dialogues in movies.
Kondke was born in a mill-worker's family in Naigaon in central Mumbai on Gokulashtami day and hence was named Krishna. Dada Kondke was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of films (nine) that achieved silver jubilee (running for 25 consecutive weeks). Kondke was called "Dada", an honorific Marathi term meaning "elder brother", which led to his popular name Dada Kondke.
Kondke was a born in a mill-worker's family in Naigaon, near Lalbaug, Mumbai. These workers were mostly migrants to the city of Mumbai looking for employment in the prospering cotton mills. This section of the society was well connected to their rural roots. Dada's movies targeted this section of the society. Tamasha and stage drama's have always played an important role in Marathi entertainment industry. He had started his entertainment career with a band and then as a stage actor. While working for drama he toured all over Maharashtra which helped him understand what entertainment meant to the local population. This learning can be seen in his movies which targeted the masses rather than any particular social class. He was a native of Ingavali in Bhor which is in Pune district of Maharashtra.
His early life was spent in chawls of Naigaon (Dadar), a Marathi heartland of Mumbai. As a youngster he was a rough kid who later on took up job in a local grocery retail chain, Apna Bazaar. It was then that he lost most of his immediate family to unfortunate events. The recovery process changed him completely who decided to stay focused on the lighter side of life and make people around laugh. He became a member of a local band which earned him the nickname "Bandwale Dada" (literal translation, "elder brother who plays for the band").
He got involved in cultural activities of Seva Dal. He started working in dramas and came in contact with various drama related personalities one of who was Vasant Sabnis, a well known Marathi writer. He decided to play big and started his own drama company, and approached Sabnis to compose a drama script for him. Sabnis was impressed with his personality and his performance in Khankhanpurcha Raja (literal translation, Bankrupt king), and wrote a drama (Loknatya)[Loknatya is the another name of Vagnatya because The Tamasha was banned in this time so it was named Loknatya] entitled, Vichha Majhi Puri Kara (literal translation, Fulfil my desires), which was a turning point in his life. The drama went on to play over 1500 shows and made him a star. The drama got him into spotlight and also gave him an entry into Marathi movies through a role in Bhalji Pendharkar's movie "Tambdi Maati". This was followed by a lead role in "Songadya" a block buster which turned his world around. He kept on delivering one hit after the other. He retained his team from Songadya and delivered his next hit Eakta Jeev Sadashiv.
Manasa paras medhra bari means goats are much better than human being in film Ekta Jeev Sadashiv
Chalara vaghya for dog in Tumcha Amcha Jamala
Jodi bailachi khillari for Bullock in Mala Gheun Chala and
Bakricha samdyasni laglay lala in Ram Ram Gangaram
He often introduces appearance of Bhagwan dada in his song in films Aali Angavar, Hyoch Navra Pahije, Bot Lavin Tithe Gudgulya, Ram Ram Gangaram most of his song are inspiring like Daulat hi teen lakhachi in his era specially female viewer are much excited to go outside of Maharashtra for honeymoon like Kashmir, Shimla where he has advocated spiritual places like Pandharpur, Jyotiba in this song.
He portrayed himself as very common or poor character in films he acted as "Dhobi" (Laundry Man) in Aali Angavar, Poor Farmer in Songadya, a Simple Havaldar in Pandu Havaldar, he always framed his film which suit to mentality of Marathi people and always within psychological lines of Marthi custom and tradition.
Kondke's storylines were always based on the simpleton. He used same team of actors, technicians and playback singers to repeat the formula for success that he believed he had got from his debut film. Dada movies, produced under the "Kamakshi Pictures" banner, had the same set of people, which included Usha Chavan as the lead actress, Rajesh Mujumdar as screen play writer (From Pandu Hawaldar onwards), Raam Laxman, as his music director, initially Jayawant Kulkarni and then Mahendra Kapoor as the male, and Usha Mangeshkar as the female playback singer, and Bal Mohite as the chief assistant.
Songadya (1971): His first venture in movie production was based on a story written by Vasant Sabnis, and was directed by Govind Kulkarni. He cast himself as Namya, the simpleton who falls to the glamour of Kalavati (played by Usha Chavan) who is a dancer in Tamasha. Namya's mother gets annoyed on knowing his visits to Tamasha and throws him out of house. Kalavati provides shelter to Dada and starts his career at Tamasha. The movie was a big hit and made Dada's simpleton image a huge success. He kept his simpleton image intact in all the following movies. Even though the movie was big hit the movie, its screening in Mumbai took a controversial turn when the owner of Kohinoor Theater in Dadar decided to screen Dev Anand's Johny Mera Naam in spite of Kondke booking the theater 4 weeks in advance. Dada Kondke then approached Shiv Sena supremo, Balasaheb Thackeray for help. Soon Shiv Sainiks gathered and started protesting outside the theater. Eventually Songadya was released in Kohinoor and was a big hit. Some of the other people, who played major characters in this movie, were Nilu Phule, Ganpat Patil, Sampat Nikam and Ratnamala.
On March 14, 1998 at 3:30 am, at his residence Rama Niwas in Dadar, Mumbai Kondke suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to Shushrusha Nursing Home, where he died. He was working on the film Jaraa Dheer Dhara with Usha Chavan.