Looks are generally deceptive. Some of our bollywood villains like Pran, Prem Chopra & Nilu Phule were so realistic in the reel roles that many people thought them really like that in the real life. Nilu Phule was different and a genius. His looks were sufficient, without speaking a word, he will lit the screen. He was so gifted that he need not to speak, his drooping eyes, big face was sufficient to hold the audience in awe. He did not seem to be making any effort to act. The acting flowed from every pore of his body.
Though, he was a stage personality in Marathi theatre but he was a towering figure in the Bollywood. Not only he has done villain roles but touching and sensitive characters which left indelible effect on the audience.
He acted in about 130 Marathi, starting with “Ek Gaav Barah Bhangadi“. He did memorable roles in Hindi films such as Saaransh, Mashaal, Prem Prathigya, Coolie, Duniya, Disha Naram Garam, Zara Si Zindagi and Sau Din Saas Ke.
“I consider Nilu Bhau not only the treasure of Mahrashtra but of India,’’ said director Mahesh Bhatt. “Very few actors can hold their silences on the screen. Nilu Phule was one of them. His role of a power-drunk politician in Saaransh gave the film a dramatic edge which would have otherwise been difficult to achieve.’’
In fact, a few days there was a news item in “The Times of India” that Anupam Kher who acted as a bereaved old man in Saaransh, tracked down Nule in Pune to invite him for silver jubilee celebrations of the great movie. It was reported that despite suffering from cancer of esophagus, Nule was jocund as usual and promised to travel to Mumbai for celebration but it was not to be. The great man breathed his last yesterday on 13th of July 2009. He was suffering from the illness and was not seen in any movie since quite long.
With his death Marathi and Bollywood cinema has lost another gem.