Laxmi Tendulkar Dhaul recounts the extraordinary story of her father Ai Tendulkar, whose life crossed paths with German filmmaker Fritz Lang, Screenwriter Thea Harbou, Hollywood actor Gregory Peck, Moti Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi.
Ayi Ganpat Tendulkar (1904–1975) – the man with incredible intellect and charms- was a sought after man once he landed in Hitler’s Berlin. Women adored his company.
However, Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t impressed. Reluctantly, Gandhi agreed to marry him off to one of his dedicated disciples, Indumati Gunaji, but attached certain conditions before the marriage could be consummated.
Ayi Tendulkar had four wives, one after the other.
Alexander Sasha Passini: A Russian beauty and artist who he met in Paris in 1924. Tendulkar received the Toppiwala scholarship which allowed him to gain admission into a British university, but he was not quite ready to begin his studies. As a result, he decided to study French at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Sasha’s daughter Veronique (not from Tendulkar) married the legendary Hollywood actor Gregory Peck.
Eva Schubring: German actress and daughter of one of his professors.
Thea Von Harbou: Legendary German screenwriter and filmmaker who was once married to Fritz Lang, renowned filmmaker and a cinema giant, known for ‘Expressionism’. She was a member of the Nazi party.
Indumati: A freedom fighter, close to Mahatma Gandhi, could not resist Tendulkar’s charm.
Laxmi Dhaul has published a book: In The Shadow of Freedom: Three Lives in Hitler’s Berlin and Gandhi’s India
Synopsis: In the early nineteen thirties Ayi Tendulkar, a young journalist from a small town in Maharashtra, travelled to Germany to study. Within a short time he married Eva Schubring, his professor’s daughter. Soon after the short-lived marriage broke up, Tendulkar, by now also a well-known journalist in Berlin, met and fell in love with the filmmaker Thea von Harbou, divorced wife of Fritz Lang, and soon to be Tendulkar’s wife.
Many years his senior, Thea became Tendulkar’s support and mainstay in Germany, encouraging and supporting him in bringing other young Indian students to the country. Hitler’s coming to power put an end to all that, and on Thea von Harbou’s advice, Tendulkar returned to India, where he became involved in Gandhi’s campaign of non-cooperation with the British and where, with Thea’s consent, he soon married Indumati Gunaji, a Gandhian activist.
Caught up in the whirlwind of Gandhi’s activism, Indumati and Tendulkar spent several years in Indian prisons, being able to come together as a married couple only after their release — managing thereby to comply with a condition that Gandhi had put to their marriage, that they remain apart for several years ‘to serve the nation?
Laxmi Dhaul has also authored: Magic Mantras / Niyogi Books (December, 2013), The Sufi Saint of Ajmer / Thea Enterprises, The Sufi Shrine of Ajmer / Rupa Publishers,
The Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya / Rupa Publishers,
and The Legend of N V Gunaji / Thea Enterprises.