Sai Paranjpye

Sai Parānjpye (born 19 March 1938) is an Indian movie director and screenwriter. She is the director of the award-winning movies Sparsh, Katha, Chasme Buddoor and Disha. She has written and directed many Marathi plays such as Jaswandi, Sakkhe Shejari, and Albel.

Sai Paranjpye
Born (1938-03-19) 19 March 1938
OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
Spouse(s)Arun Joglekar (divorced)
ChildrenGautam Joglekar
Parent(s)Youra Sleptzoff
Shakuntala Paranjpye
RelativesR. P. Paranjpye (Grandfather)
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2006)
National Film Award for Best Screenplay
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi

The Government of India awarded Sai the Padma Bhushan title in 2006 in recognition of her artistic talents.[1]

Early years

Sai Paranjpye was born on 19 March 1938 in Mumbai to Russian Youra Sleptzoff and Shakuntala Paranjpye.[2] Sleptzoff was a Russian watercolor artist and a son of a Russian general. Shakuntala Paranjpye was an actor in Marathi and Hindi films in the 1930s and 1940s, including V. Shantaram's Hindi social classic – Duniya Na Mane (1937), and later became a writer and a social worker, was nominated to Rajya Sabha, Upper House of Indian Parliament and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1991.[3]

Sai's parents divorced shortly after her birth. Her mother raised Sai in the household of her own father, Sir R. P. Paranjpye, who was a renowned mathematician and educationist and who served from 1944 to 1947 as India's High Commissioner in Australia. Sai thus grew up and received education in many cities in India, including Pune, and for a few years in Canberra, Australia.[4] As a child, she used to walk up to the home of her uncle Achyut Ranade, a noted filmmaker of the '40s and '50s, on Fergusson Hill in Pune, who would tell stories as if he were narrating a screenplay.[5] Sai took to writing early in her life: Her first book of fairy tales – Mulānchā Mewā (in Marathi), was published when she was eight.[6][7][8]

Paranjpye graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in 1963.[9]


Paranjpye started her career in All India Radio (AIR) in Pune, Maharashtra, India as an announcer and soon got involved with AIR's Children's Program.

Over the years, Paranjpye has written and directed plays in Marathi, Hindi, and English for adults and children. She has written and directed six feature films, two children's films, and five documentaries. She has written many books for children, and six of them have won national or state level awards.

Paranjpye worked for many years as a director or a producer with Doordarshan Television in Delhi. Her first made-for-TV movie – The Little Tea Shop (1972), won the Asian Broadcasting Union Award at Teheran,[10] Iran. Later that year, she was selected to produce the inaugural program of Bombay (Mumbai) Doordarshan.

In the 1970s, Sai twice served as the Chairperson of Children's Film Society of India (CFSI), which is a government of India organization with the objective of promoting and ensuring value-based entertainment for children.[11] She made four children's films for CFSI, including the award-winning Jādoo Kā Shankh (1974) and Sikandar (1976).[12]

Paranjpye's first feature film Sparsh (The Touch), was released in 1980. It won five film awards, including the National Film Award. Sparsh was followed by the comedies Chashme Buddoor (1981) and Kathā (1982). Kathā was a musical satire based on the folk tale of a tortoise and a rabbit.[13]

She next made the TV serials Ados Pados (1984) and Chhote Bade (1985). Paranjpye worked as director, writer and narrator for the Marathi drama Maza Khel mandu de. It was played on 27 September 1986 at Gadkari Rangayatan, Thane.[14]

Paranjpye's subsequent movies include Angoothā Chhāp (1988) about the National Literacy Mission; Disha (1990) about the plight of immigrant workers; Papeeha (Forest Love Bird) (1993); Saaz (1997); (inspired by the lives of Indian playback singing sisters, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle);[15] and Chakā Chak (2005), which was aimed at creating public awareness about environmental issues.[6]

She also made the serials Hum Panchi Ek Chawl Ke, Partyana and Behnaa. Sridhar Rangayan assisted her in the film Papeeha and in the serials Hum Panchi Ek Chawl Ke and Partyana

Sai directed several documentary movies, including Helping Hand (London), Talking Books, Capt. Laxmi, Warna Orchestra, and Pankaj Mullick. Sai's 1993 documentary Choodiyan, on the anti-liquor agitation in a small Maharashtra village for the Films Division, received the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues.[10]

In 2001, Sai made the movie for children, Bhago Bhoot. At the first Indian International Women's Film Festival in Goa in 2005, a review of Sai's movies was held, and it featured her best movies.[16] She headed the jury in the feature film category of the 55th National Film Awards for 2007.[17]

In July 2009, Sai's documentary film Suee was released, emerging from the South Asia Region Development Marketplace (SAR DM), an initiative spearheaded by the World Bank.[10] Suee explores a number of areas in the lives of injecting drug users including treatment, care, peer and community support, rehabilitation and the workplace, and was produced in partnership with the Mumbai-based NGO Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust. The 29 minute film was aired on Doordarshan on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009.[18][19]

Personal life

Sai was married to theater artist Arun Joglekar; they had a son, Gautam, and a daughter, Winnie. Sai and Arun separated after two years.[20] They remained friends until Arun's death in 1992. After their separation, Arun acted in Sai's Sparsh (1980) and Katha (1983).[21] Their son, Gautam Joglekar is a director of Marathi films (Pak Pak Pakaak, Jai Jai Maharashtra Maaza) and a professional cameraman, and their daughter Winnie Paranjpe Joglekar is a homemaker. Winnie acted in many of Sai's movies, dramas and TV serials in the 1980s.[22] Winnie and her husband, Abhay, have two children; Abeer and Anshunee. Gautam starred as the male lead in Nana Patekar's directorial venture Prahaar with Madhuri Dixit playing the female lead.

Sai Paranjpye is a multimedia personality. She made her own way, creating entertainment that obliterated previous material and created an indelible line between mainstream and parallel cinema.[23]


National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
  • 1985: Filmfare Best Director Award: Sparsh
  • 1985: Filmfare Best Dialogue Award: Sparsh.[25]
Social Awards
  • 2017: [(Maharashtra Foundation (America) Literature and Social work Award)]
  • 2019: Fergusson Gaurav Puraskar: Outstanding Alumnus Award from her Alma Mater, Fergusson College


  • Nana Phadnavis, India Book House Education Trust; Echo ed edition, 1971.
  • Rigmarole And Other Plays, Penguin Books India (Puffin). 2008. ISBN 0-14-333066-7.


  • The Little Tea Shop (TV 1972)
  • Jadu Ka Shankh (1974)
  • Begaar (1975)
  • Sikander (1976)
  • Dabcherry Milk Project (1976)
  • Captain Laxmi (1977)
  • Freedom From Fear (1978)
  • Sparsh (1980)
  • Chasme Buddoor (1981)
  • Books That Talk (1981)
  • Katha (1983)
  • Ados Pados (TV 1984)
  • Chote Bade (TV 1985)
  • Angootha Chhaap (1988)
  • Disha (1990)
  • Papeeha 1993)
  • Chooriyan (1993)
  • Saaz (1997)
  • Bhago Bhoot (2000)[26]
  • Chaka Chak (2005)
  • Suee (2009)

Further reading

  • Profiles in Creativity; Upadhyay, Madhusoodhan Narasimhacharya, Namaste Exports Ltd., 1991 Part II, 53. ISBN 81-900349-0-1.[27]


  1. Padma Bhushan Awardees Ms. Sai Paranjpye, Arts, Maharashtra, 2006.
  2. Sai Paranjpye at ASHA Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Shakuntala Profile History, names Pranajpye.
  4. Three Years In Australia Item: 13460, booksandcollectibles.
  5. Cinema with sense, The Hindu, 14 July 2008.
  6. NIGHT OUT with Sai Paranjpye Archived 21 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine Indian Express, Pune Newsline, Tuesday, 7 June 2005.
  7. Thoraval, Yves (2000). The cinemas of India. Macmillan India. pp. 203–204. ISBN 0-333-93410-5.
  8. Miss Chamko goes Chaka Chak, Indian Express, 30 May 2005.
  9. NSD Alumni Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine National School of Drama (NSD) Annual Report 2005-2006.
  10. Sai Paranjpye, Indian Filmmaker library, World Bank.
  11. Director’s Profile cmsvatavaran.
  12. Biography movies New York Times.
  13. Katha Review World Festival of Foreign Films.
  14. Paranjpye, Sai. Maza Khel mandu de.
  15. Sai Paranjpye's latest film, Saaz, 14 May 1997.
  16. New Feature Film "Xapai" to be directed by Sai Paranjpye Goanet, 18 December 2005.
  17. National awards "free from lobbying": Paranjpye Press Trust of India, 2009.
  18. Injecting drug users take central role in anti-stigma film Accessed 22 January 2010
  19. "NCB drive against drug abuse gets rolling – DNA – English News & Features – Mumbai". 29 June 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  20. Sai speak! The Times of India, 8 July 2002.
  21. Arun Joglekar on IMDb
  22. Vinni Paranjpye Joglekar on IMDb
  23. Directorate of Film Festival, January,1993.
  24. National Film Awards (1979)
  25. "Best Dialogue Writer (Technical Awards)" lists winners of this award from 1958 through 1999, Indiatimes
  26. "Bhago Bhoot Full Movie". Youtube.
  27. "Profiles in creativity". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
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