Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani -1946
The early half of 1940s was marked with several feature films that stirred patriotic waves among the mass. These films had to survive the strict war-time rules and regulations to make it to the silver screen. The colonial government rationed out film stocks in short supply and that too to a few established studios. Moreover it was mandatory that one out of five films should be dedicated to the subject of war efforts.
V. Shantaram was one among the few directors who were able to circumvent these regulations. His monumental film Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani (1946), despite being patriotic was pleasing both for the colonial government and for the Communist and Congress parties. The film was, in a sense, ‘anti-Japanese’ in spirit in that it recounts the tale of an Indian doctor who helped the communist forces to fight against Japanese invaders.
Nevertheless Shantaram was triumphant in inspiring patriotic fervor among the mass. Thanks to the remarkable song Chit Dole Nit Dole Subah O Shaam Prabhuji rendered by Jayashree. The story was based on the story 'And One Did Not Come Back', by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, which tells the heroic life of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis. (The death of Guo Qinglan wife of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, on June 28, 2012, gained much media attention.)
Dr. Kotnis was sent to china during the Second World War to assist the troops fighting against the Japanese invasion in Yenan province where he had to fight against a virulent plague He triumphs in the venture but gets himself caught by the plague in the end.
Shantaram and his second wife Jayashree played the lead roles in the film. Music composed by Vasant Desai made the film all the more outstanding. The film is historically significant also for its adoption of Chinese influenced melodies. The English version of the film was titled The Journey of Dr. Kotnis.