148th year of Undying Legacy – Dada Saheb Phalke

‘Father of Indian cinema’

India was introduced to the world of cinema by none other then the legendary, Dada Saheb Phalke also known as the ‘Father of Indian Cinema’. Born in a Maharashtrian Brahmin family on 30th April 1870 at Tryambakeshwar. From a young age, Dadasaheb Phalke developed a keen interest in arts, studying photography, lithography, architecture, engineering and even magic.

In finding his right purpose, he went on to work as a painter, draftsman, theatrical set designer and lithographer. An encounter with the Alice Guy’s silent film The Life of Christ (1910) that changed his life. Dada Saheb decided to bring the glory of Indian culture to the silver screen. He was extremely determined to showcase Indian culture on the screen, for which he travelled to London to learn Filmmaking from Cecil Hepworth.

Dadasaheb Phalke gave Indian cinema its first silent film Raja Harishchandra. Thousands of Indians were shocked to see their imagination being captured on screen and delighted with the subject he chose for the film. He used smooth trick photography and technology to make the moving picture look convincing to the audience.

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Struggled against all the hurdles and the displeasure of the British. He set aside all the odds he fought his own financial struggles to achieve his dream of having an Indian film industry. With the emerging technology and changed time Dadasaheb fell victim to the sound film. Unable to cope up with the technology, Dadasaheb became obsolete.  His last silent movie Setubandhan was released in 1932 and later released with dubbing. He also produced his last film Gangavataran 1937, before retiring to Nashik, where he died on 16 February 1944.Yet, he made a mark and gave birth to 130 films in his lifetime, with strong will and dedication, considering the technology that was available at that time.

The Government of Indian established The Dadasaheb Phalke Award which recognises lifetime contribution to cinema. This award is one of the prestigious awards in Indian cinema.

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Surabhi Mahadevan

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