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Who Was Dina Pathak? The Dadi We All Loved Also Transformed Gujarati Theatre

Dina Pathak
Actor Dina Pathak: Born as Dina Gandhi in the year, 1922, Pathak successfully built her career as an actor-director of the Gujarati theatre.

The dadi we all loved became one of the most prominent faces in both Hindi and Gujarati film and theatre. What’s well known is her contribution to the world of Hindi films, but she was transformational for Gujarati theatre.

Pathak was also an activist and the President of National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW). Pathak’s career as an actor lasted for over 6 decades. Her production Mena Gurjari in Bhavai folk theatre style ran successfully for several years and is now a part of its repertoire.

Actor Dina Pathak: 10 things we know about the yesteryear artiste

  1. Dina Pathak was a significant actor in Hindi art films back in time. She is best known for her roles in old Bollywood movies like Gol Maal and Khoobsurat. She played some of the most powerful roles in the movies like Koshish, Umrao Jaan, Mirch Masala and Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho. Among Gujarati films, the most notable ones were Moti Ba, Malela Jeev and Bhavni Bhavai.
  2. Pathak had a keen interest in plays and films since her childhood. She started acting in plays right from her teens and received critical acclamation. Eventually, acting in theatres became her career. Some of her most well known plays include Dinglegar, Doll’s House, Vijan Sheni and Hayavadana. 
  3. In her youth, she joined the Indian National Theatre as an actor and became well known for her student activism. A folk theatre from Gujarat, Bhavai theatre was extensively used to create awareness about the British rule in the pre-independence era. This led to her association with IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association).
  4. Actor Dina Pathak played an important role in reviving the Gujarati theatre in Mumbai along with her sisters Tarla Mehta and Shanta Gandhi. Gujarati actors like Kailash Pandya and Damini Mehta also helped her in doing so.
  5. In the 1940s, she created a stir with her plays. She played the lead role in the drama Maina Gurjari which till date remains one of her most popular works.
  6. After continuing to act in plays for years, Pathak formed her own theatre group called “Natmandal” in Ahmedabad. Even today, people remember her as a loyal and hardworking performer as well as a theatre activist a IPTA.
  7. One of Dina Pathak’s most memorable comedies is Deepa Mehta’s Bollywood/Hollywood. She was nominated in the category of “Best actress in a supporting role” at the 23rd Genie Awards for her performance.
  8. The actor was also seen portraying the role of Badi Maa in the cult show Khichadi.
  9. Pathak completed shooting for her last film Pinjar (2003) but unfortunately, could not witness its release as she died of heart attack in 2002.
  10. Dina Pathak’s daughters Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak are both renowned actors of Bollywood.

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