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Goa’s Pride, India’s best film editor, Waman Bhonsle, no more


He was the Pride of Goa and the finest film editor of India, a recipient of the first ever National Film Award instituted by Government of India in 1978. Waman Bhonsle, from Pomburpa in Bardez, expired today early this morning at 89.

“Since the lockdown last year, he was not keeping well due to age-related ailments”, said Dinesh Bhonsle, his nephew and a Goan filmmaker.

Survived by his wife, a son and three daughters, Bhonsle breathed his last at his Goregao residence in Mumbai. 

During his 47-year long career in the Indian film industry, he edited 231 films and practically every film of Gulzar saab, since Mere Apne. 

The first film he learnt editing as an apprentice was with then well-known film editor D N Pai, in 1952, at Himanshu Roy’s famous studio 'Bombay Talkies'

He made a debut in 1967 as an independent Editor with Raj Khosla’s box office hit Do Raaste.

In 1978, when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting introduced National Awards in technical excellence, Waman Bhonsle was an unanimous choice as the Best Editor for the Hindi thriller Inkaar by Raj Khosla, starring Vinod Khanna, Dr Shriram Lagoo, Amzad Khan etc. The commercial film was chosen for the National Award only in this category.

The last film he edited in 1999 was Kairee, a Marathi film by Amol Palekar. 

Besides Hindi, he also edited films in Marathi, Bengali and Haryanvi as well as a few South Indian films. 

As tweeted by ‘Film History Pics’, he was known for his flashback cuts in Namkeen & Aandhi as well as the train sequence in Ghulam.

Though he voluntarily retired from the profession at the age of 67 in spite of films being offered by new directors, Bhonsle continued guiding the new blood, passing on his inimitable expertise. 

The Twitter is full of paying homage to Waman Bhonsle, including the veterans like Subhash Ghai to the young directors like Madhur Bhandarkar, highlighting his technical expertise blended with artistic brilliance. 

Besides several awards and felicitations, he was also honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards by IFFI in 2008, the prestigious Bimal Roy Trophy and Maharashtra Government's Raj Kapoor Award in 2019.  


Born on 19th February 1932 in a village of Pomburpa as a third child to Nagesh and Satyavati Bhonsle, Waman Bhonsle was adopted by his uncle Pandhari Bhonsle, who had no child.

However, unfortunately, he lost his mother while in Std II and father while studying in Std V. A struggling boy from a lower middle-class background, he continued his studies at St Xavier’s School in Moira by walking a distance of eight kilometers through forest every day.

After passing out of school, he moved to Mumbai and tried out his hand at a dye-making job with his brother Vasudev. After just 10 days, he was convinced that  the dye-making job held no interest for him.


He had no clue what film editing was, forget a certificate from a training school. Baburao Lawande from his Pomburpa village was working with D N Pai, his relative as the editor, along with few other Goans.

With this reference, he joined as an apprentice with D N Pai, then well-known film editor, in 1952 and moved up as an assistant within six months at Pai's studio Filmistan, editing famous films like Anarkali, Nagin, Munimji, Jagriti and Durgesh Nandini.

He also assisted Pai at Filmalaya Studio and also for some independent producers, editing  Aao Pyar Karen  directed by R K Nayyar,  Ek Musafir Ek Hasina directed by Raj Khosla, Sunil Dutt’s Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke directed by R K Nayyar and  N N Sippy’s famous thriller Woh Kaun Thi? directed by Raj Khosla.

After assisting Pai for 15 years, he independently edited his first film in 1967, Raj Khosla’s Do Raaste. The same year, he joined hands with his colleague Gurudutta Shirali, who was also working with Pai. 

The duo, known as “Waman-Guru”, edited several films together and also won many awards. 

He constantly kept in touch with the changing technical world of editing from Black and White to colour to linear machines like the Movieola and the Steenbeck and even the newer computerized machines with non-linear and digital formats.

Precisely this is the reason, the passionate man also figures among the top 17 film personalities of Indian cinema listed by filmmaker Aamir Khan.

Waman Bhonsle at IFFI in Goa after felicitation in 2008


National Film Award for Best Editing for Inkaar in 1978

Filmafare Awrd for Best Editing for Saudagar in 1992

FTII -Pune honor for Contribution to Indian Cinema in 1997

Lux ZeeCine Award for Best Editing for Ghulam in 1998

Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) - Technical Excellence Award in 2003

Goa International Film Festival - Honored for Lifetime Achievement award in 2008

Bimal Roy Trophy - Lifetime achievement award by Bimal Roy Memorial and Film Society recognizing his 4 decades contribution to the film industry

Click here to read the whole list of films Waman Bhonsle edited 

Watch Waman Bhonsle's Rajya Sabha TV interview in 2013 is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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