We pay homage to Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema, on his 148th birth anniversary.
Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke is regarded as the Father of Indian Cinema.
The changing point in Phalke’s life was when he first time saw the silent film “The Life of Christ”. The film made such a great impact on his mind that he began to think if such films could be ever made with Indian themes. After raising some money and experimenting with a few short films, he went to London in February 1912 to learn the art and craft of film-making. Cecil Hepworth of Walton Studios trained him in the craft of film-making. Phalke bought a Willamson camera and returned India and set up Phalke Films in Bombay (Mumbai). These efforts gave birth to India’s first indigenous full-length feature cinema named “Raja Harishchandra” in 1912. It was first shown publicly on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema, effectively marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.
Dadasaheb Phalke’s career lasted for 19 years, which is less in comparison to most artists, but in that time he achieved much more than most others ever could. He made 95 movies and 26 short films, which include some of his best work like Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919).
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was instituted in his honor by the Government of India in 1969. The award is one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema and is the highest official recognition for film personalities in the country. Devika Rani Chaudhuri Roerich was the first recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969.
What made Phalke a legend was his passion for film, his overwhelming desire to make a film as India’s own and to remain in India for the growth of film industry despite fabulous offers from England. He could have chosen to live in England luxuriously but he preferred to use his talent and energy for Mother India. He is rightly the father of Indian film industry.