, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke (Marathi: दादासाहेब फाळके) (30 April 1870 - 16 February 1944) was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, known as the father of Indian cinema . Starting with his debut film, Raja Harishchandra 1913, now known as India's first full-length feature, he made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career span of 19 years, till 1937, including his most noted works, Mohini Bhasmasur (1913),Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janam (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919)..
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award was instituted in his honour, by Govt. of India in 1969, and is today, the highest award in Indian Cinema, it is given for lifetime contribution to Cinema .
Early life and education
Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Trimbakeshwar, 30 km from Nasik, India , where his father was an accomplished Sanskrit scholar.
He joined Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1885. After passing from J.J.School in 1890, Phalke went to the Kala Bhavan in Baroda, where he studied Sculpture, Engineering Drawing, Painting and Photography .
He began his career as a small town photographer in Godhra but had to leave business after the death of his first wife and child in an outbreak of the bubonic plague. He soon met the German magician Carl Hertz, one of the 40 magicians employed by the Lumiere Brothers.
Soon after, he had the opportunity to work with the Archeological Survey of India as a draftsman. However, restless with his job and its constraints, he turned to the business of printing. He specialized in lithography and oleography, and worked for painter Raja Ravi Varma. Phalke later started his own printing press, made his first trip abroad to Germany, to learn about the latest technology and machinery.
Raja Harishchandra 1913, directed by Dadasaheb Phalke
However, following a dispute with his partners about the running of the press, he gave up printing and turned his attention to moving pictures, after watching a silent film, The Life of Christ and envisioning Indian gods on the screen. He made his first film, 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. Around one year before, Ramchandra Gopal (known as Dadasaheb Torne) had released his film Pundalik in the same theater. However, the credit for making the first Indian feature film is still attributed to Dadasaheb Phalke
Once again, Phalke proved successful in his new art, and proceeded to make several silent films, shorts, documentary feature, educational, comic, tapping all the potential of this new medium. However, film, having proved its financial viability, soon attracted businessmen who favored money over aesthetics.
Phalke formed a film company, Hindustan Films in partnership with five businessmen from Mumbai, in the hope that by having the financial aspect of his profession handled by experts in the field, he would be free to pursue the creative aspect. He set up a model studio and trained technicians, actors, but very soon, he ran into insurmountable problems with his partners. In 1920, Phalke resigned from Hindustan company, made his first announcement of retirement from cinema,and he wrote 'Rangbhoomi', an acclaimed play.
8But lacking his imaginative genius, the Hindustan company ran into deep financial loss, and he was finally persuaded to return. However, Phalke felt constrained by the business, and, after directing a few films for the company, he withdrew.
But then the times changed, and Phalke fell victim to the emerging technology of sound film. Unable to cope with the talkies, the man who had fathered the Indian film industry became obsolete. His last silent movie “Setubandhan” was released in 1932, which later released by dubbing voice. During 1936-38, he produced his last film Gangavataran (1937), before retiring to Nashik, where he died in 16 February 1944.
* Raja Harishchandra (1913)
* Shri Krishna Janma (1918)
* Kaliya Mardan (1919)
* Setu Bandhan (1923)
* Gangavataran (1937) Labels: दादासाहेब फाळके