From Text to Screen: The Writing and Re-writing of Hansa Wadkar’s (1923–1971) Life Story


The autobiography of late Indian actor Hansa Wadkar (1923-1971), Sangtye Aika (1970) is a unique piece of writing that was ahead of its time. Initially, a collaborative project with the Marathi weekly Manoos (1961-1990) the process of which was documented, this book brought out Wadkar’s story in her voice, as narrated by her. This autobiography was instrumental because, at the time, it gave Wadkar the agency to tailor her autobiographical self to the way she wanted to portray herself. Later, in 1977, inspired by Wadkar’s book, noted Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal made the film Bhumika: The Role, albeit with significant rewritings and departures from Wadkar’s text. The paper examines both the writing of the text and its rewriting into the film to evaluate how the agency of the author got modified in the process of adaptation. It also argues that the film is partly a re-casting of Wadkar’s image into the mold of the heroine from humble beginnings-turned-unsung-feminist-icon as Benegal saw her. In doing so, the paper questions the erasure of Wadkar’s narrative authority by critically analyzing and comparing the film with the book. In pursuing these strands of inquiry, the paper addresses the research gap in the studies on autobiographical writings by South Asian women in cinema and the adaptations of such writings into film.

Author Information
Meghna Gangadharan, Indian Institute of Technology Indore, India
Ananya Ghoshal, Indian Institute of Technology Indore, India

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2024
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the IICAH2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Gangadharan M., & Ghoshal A. (2024) From Text to Screen: The Writing and Re-writing of Hansa Wadkar’s (1923–1971) Life Story ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon