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'Nilu Phule was a gardener before an actor'

July 14, 2009 15:13 IST

In an interesting revelation, eminent actor Shreeram Lagoo, who co-starred with the late Nilu Phule in many Marathi hits, said the versatile Marathi film and stage personality had worked as a gardener in B J Medical College in Pune.

"Phule worked as a gardener in the B J Medical College when I was studying medicine years ago. Afterwards, I went abroad and by the time I returned home, he had become a great actor with exceptional talent and versatility," Lagoo said paying tribute to Phule.

The legendary villain of Marathi cinema passed away on July 13 at the age of 79. Phule was a born actor, who was also 'alive to social causes', Lagoo said. Phule took pride in saying that he had worked as gardener for as many as 11 years before he entered filmdom, he said.

Phule, who was also a member of socialist Rashtra Seva Dal had once said in an interview, 'I was taught dignity of labour in my childhood spent in stark poverty. Tending flowers and saplings gave me the joy of creativity in the presence of nature which I cherished throughout my life.'

The sprawling garden lawns of the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College was also the creation of Phule, who became one of the most celebrated actors of Marathi films and theatre.

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