By Mansoor Khan, Glamsham Editorial
Dadasaheb Phalke is recognized as 'The Father of Indian Cinema'. Do you know the reason? Well, it was Phalke who holds the distinction of making India's First indigenous full length feature film RAJA HARISHCHANDRA in 1913. What may stun the readers is that Dadasaheb Phalke not only produced and directed the film but was a one-man show behind the making of the film!
He wrote the script, he was himself the cinematographer, the editor, the art director and the costume designer! And that's not all he even perforated the raw stock, exposed, processed and printed it!
His work did not end here, because after making the film he went all around the country showing his film to people by taking the pain of carrying the projector and projecting the film on the screen himself!
The film was shot in over seven-month's time. It was a short four reels movie, with a duration of approximate 50 minutes. The highlight of the film is that it has an all-male cast as in those days women working in cinema were abhorred by the society. In fact even the prostitutes had declined to act in the film! Hence, Phalke had a hard time finding male actors having feminine traits to play women characters in the movie. Initially Phalke had made just one print but the success of the film compelled him to later make more prints.
The movie was released officially on May 3, 2013 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema at Girgaon to a packed house
However, the tragedy is that the original film is not conserved by the government of India. Only a few portions of the film are preserved at the National Film Archive of India, Pune.
In memory of Dadasaheb Phalke, the Indian government initiated the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1969. The award is given to a film celebrity for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. The first recipient of the award was Devika Rani, the legendary actress of the early 30's.