Sai Paranjpye
सई परांजपे
Paranjpye in 2011
Born (1938-03-19) 19 March 1938 (age 86)
Occupation(s)Director, Screenwriter
Arun Joglekar
RelativesR. P. Paranjpye (grandfather)

Sai Paranjpye (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.

She has won 4 National Film Awards and 2 Filmfare awards. 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). Later she became a writer and a social worker, was nominated to Rajya Sabha, Upper House of Indian Parliament and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006.[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][5] 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.[6] Sai took to writing early in her life: Her first book of fairy tales – Mulānchā Mewā (in Marathi), was published when she was eight.[7][8][9]

Paranjpye graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in 1963.[10]


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,[11] Iran. Later that year, she was selected to produce the inaugural program of Bombay (Mumbai) Doordarshan.

In the 1970s, Paranjpye 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.[12] She made four children's films for CFSI, including the award-winning Jādoo Kā Shankh (1974) and Sikandar (1976).[13]

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 the hare and the tortoise.[14] 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.[15]

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) (possibly inspired by the lives of Indian playback singing sisters, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle);[16] and Chakā Chak (2005), which was aimed at creating public awareness about environmental issues.[7]

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.[citation needed]

Paranjpye has also written and staged plays like Maza Khel Mandu De, Jaswandi and Sakhe Shejari.[17]

Paranjpye directed several documentary movies, including Helping Hand (London), Talking Books, Capt. Laxmi, Warna Orchestra, and Pankaj Mullick. Her 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.[11]

In 2001, Paranjpye made the movie for children, Bhago Bhoot. At the first Indian International Women's Film Festival, held in Goa in 2005, a review of her movies was held, and it featured her best movies.[18] She headed the jury in the feature film category of the 55th National Film Awards for 2007.[19]

In July 2009, Paranjpye's documentary film Suee was released, emerging from the South Asia Region Development Marketplace (SAR DM), an initiative spearheaded by the World Bank.[11] 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.[20][21]

In 2016, she released her autobiography, Saya: Majha Kalapravas, written in Marathi. It was a bestseller that had reached its fifth edition in 2020. She then released A Patchwork Quilt – A Collage of My Creative Life, the English version of her autobiography, in 2020, with some chapters rewritten.[17]

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.[22] They remained friends until Arun's death in 1992. After their separation, Arun acted in Sai's Sparsh (1980) and Katha (1983).[23] 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 an educationist and homemaker. Winnie acted in many of Sai's movies, dramas and TV serials in the 1980s.[24] Winnie and her husband, Abhay, now deceased, 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.


Civilian Award
Film Awards
Year Award Film Category Result Ref.
1980 National Film Awards Sparsh Best Screenplay Won [25]
Best Feature Film in Hindi Won
1983 Katha Won
1992 Choodiyan Best Film on Social Issues Won
1982 Filmfare Awards Chashme Buddoor Best Director Nominated [26]
1985 Sparsh Won
Best Dialogue Won
1992 Disha Best Story Nominated
Other Awards



Further reading


  1. ^ Padma Bhushan Awardees Ms. Sai Paranjpye, Arts, Maharashtra, 2006.
  2. ^ "Sai Paranjpye at ASHA". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007.
  3. ^ Shakuntala Profile History, names Pranajpye.
  4. ^ Three Years In Australia Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Item: 13460, booksandcollectibles.
  5. ^ Das, Arti (23 March 2019). "I am a first-class writer and a second-class director: Sai Paranjpye". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  6. ^ Cinema with sense, The Hindu, 14 July 2008.
  7. ^ a b NIGHT OUT with Sai Paranjpye Archived 21 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine Indian Express, Pune Newsline, Tuesday, 7 June 2005.
  8. ^ Thoraval, Yves (2000). The cinemas of India. Macmillan India. pp. 203–204. ISBN 0-333-93410-5.
  9. ^ Miss Chamko goes Chaka Chak[dead link], Indian Express, 30 May 2005.
  10. ^ NSD Alumni Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine National School of Drama (NSD) Annual Report 2005-2006.
  11. ^ a b c Sai Paranjpye, Indian Filmmaker library, World Bank.
  12. ^ Director’s Profile cmsvatavaran.
  13. ^ Biography movies New York Times.
  14. ^ Katha Review Archived 20 February 2023 at the Wayback Machine World Festival of Foreign Films.
  15. ^ Paranjpye, Sai. Maza Khel mandu de.
  16. ^ Sai Paranjpye's latest film, Saaz, 14 May 1997.
  17. ^ a b Ramnath, Nandini (28 November 2020). "Sai Paranjpye interview: 'I guess I was born with a grin'". Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  18. ^ New Feature Film "Xapai" to be directed by Sai Paranjpye Archived 12 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine Goanet, 18 December 2005.
  19. ^ National awards "free from lobbying": Paranjpye Press Trust of India, 2009.
  20. ^ Injecting drug users take central role in anti-stigma film Accessed 22 January 2010
  21. ^ "NCB drive against drug abuse gets rolling – DNA – English News & Features – Mumbai". 29 June 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  22. ^ Sai speak! The Times of India, 8 July 2002.
  23. ^ Arun Joglekar at IMDb
  24. ^ Vinni Paranjpye Joglekar at IMDb
  25. ^ "National Film Awards (1979)". Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Best Dialogue Writer (Technical Awards)" lists winners of this award from 1958 through 1999, Indiatimes
  27. ^ "Bhago Bhoot Full Movie". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "Profiles in creativity". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011.