Dadasaheb Phalke

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Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian Cinema (1930s)

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (April 30, 1870February 16, 1944) was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, known as the father of Indian cinema. His deep interests in magic, theatre and painting are amply reflected in his films. His debut film was Raja Harishchandra in 1913,which was India's first full-length feature. He went to make 95 movies and 26 short films during his career spanning 19 years, till 1937. The Government of India has honoured him by instituting The Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969, for lifetime contribution to cinema, which is one of most prestigious awards in Indian cinema conferred film personalities in the country, and is the highest official recognition. The India Post also issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honour in 1971.


  • I have to keep making films in my country so that it gets established as an industry at home.
  • While the film Life of Christ was rolling past before my eyes I was mentally visualizing the gods, Shri Krishna, Shri Ramachandra their Gokul and Ayodhya.. I was gripped by a strange spell. I bought another ticket and saw the film again. This time I felt my imagination taking shape in the screen.Could this really happen? Could we the sons of India, ever be able to see Indian images on the screen. The whole night passed in this mental agony.
  • During this period I was constantly preoccupied with the analysis of every film, which I saw, and in considering whether I could make them here. There was no doubt whatsoever about the utility of the profession and its importance as an industry...this was the period of the Swadeshi movement and there was profuse talking and lecturing on the subject. For me personally, this led to the resignation of my comfortable government job and taking to an independent profession. I took this opportunity to explain my ideas to my friends and leaders of the Swadeshi movement. Even people who were familiar with me for 15 years found my ideas impracticable.

About Dadasaheb Phalke[edit]

a Clip from his film Raja Harsihchamdra
  • Yes, there is a stamp in his honour, some roads, and Mumbai's film city is dedicated to him. There are statues in Mumbai and Nashik, besides the annual top film honour and other token international recognition. However, we think both Dadasaheb and Saraswati deserve a Bharat Ratna and we must be invited to witness the presentation. The centenary year of Indian cinema is the most appropriate occasion.
    • His grandson Pusalkar in "Dadasaheb Phalke's family wants Bharat Ratna for him".
  • He brought the first movie camera from Germany, but nobody knows what happened to it afterwards. Maybe it is lying with some antique collector. There were absolutely no film-making facilities - production or distribution - available as people believed films had no future. But, whatever he did from scratch set a precedent for the future generations of film-makers.
    • His grandson Kiran Phalke in "Dadasaheb Phalke's family wants Bharat Ratna for him".
  • The inspiration for the film came from Dadasaheb Phalke. His adventure of film making is the basis of the film, says Paresh Mokashi, director and writer of the film. Harishchandrachi Factory — which faced competition from 15 films including New York and Delhi 6 — captures the first two years of Phalke's cinematic career. The two-hour-long film starts with Phalke giving up his printing business after a fight with his partner. Soon, he accidentally comes across a tent theatre, screening a silent film. An awestruck Phalke decided to make a film and was encouraged by his wife and two enthusiastic children. The Oscar-nominated film ends with Phalke delivering Indian film industry's first hit using his advertising acumen.
    • The film based on his life which was nominated for |Oscar quoted in "Marathi film on Phalke is India’s Oscar Entry".
  • He produced, directed, processed and did everything to make the first Indian feature film Raja Harishchandra. Unlike most film makers of those days, Phalke did not have the westernized audience in mind. His vision was to use the medium to narrate an Indian story to the audience.
  • As Gandhi refashioned the world of protest, another man was reinventing story telling. In 1913, Dhund Raj Govind Phalke or Dadasaheb Phalke as he came to be later known as, made the first full length feature film Raja Harsihchandra. Within seven years there was a regular film industry functioning in the country with Bombay as its main player.

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