Cinema was started in 1913 with Raja Harishchandra being the Indian silent film directed and produced by Dadasaheb Phalke. It is often considered the first full-length Indian feature film. Raja Harishchandra features Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Anna Salunke, Bhalchandra Phalke, and Gajanan Vasudev Sane and is based on the legend of Harishchandra, with Dabke playing the titular role. The movie had its theatrical release on May 3, 1913.
Reportedly, Raja Harishchandra was houseful for a week and extended for twelve more days post that. Later, it was also screened at Pune, Colombo, London, and Rangoon. The movie by Dadasaheb Phalke was screened for the public at Coronation Cinema in Girgaon, Mumbai. The silent film was produced and directed by Dadasaheb Phalke and based on the legend of Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra.
About Raja Harishchandra
Dadasaheb Phalke decided to make a feature film after watching The Life of Christ (1906) at a theatre in Bombay in April 1911. Following this, he went to London in February 1912 for two weeks to learn filmmaking techniques and upon return founded Phalke Films Company. Phalke envisioned Hindu deities such as Ram and Krishna on screen. He travelled to London to learn filmmaking.
He published advertisements in various newspapers calling for the cast and crew. As no women were available to play female roles, male actors performed the female roles. Phalke was in charge of scriptment, direction, production design, make-up, film editing, along with film processing.
The film completed its shoot in six months and 27 days. Once released, the film was a commercial success and laid the foundation for the film industry in the country. Some film historians believe these belong to a 1917 remake of the film by Phalke titled Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra. The Government of India, however, recognises Raja Harishchandra as the first Indian feature film.
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