Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (Marathi: धुंडीराज
गोविंद फाळके), popularly known as Dadasaheb
Phalke (Marathi: दादासाहेब फाळके)
( pronunciation (help·info)) (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 the first
Indian cinema in 1913, now known as India's
first full-length feature, he made 95 movies and 26 short films in his
career spanning 19 years, till 1937, including his most noted works:
Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914),
Lanka Dahan (1917),
Shri Krishna Janma
Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and
Kaliya Mardan (1919).
Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was
instituted in his honour by the
Government of India
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.
A postage stamp bearing his likeness was released by
India Post to
honour him in 1971. An honorary award from the Dadasaheb Phalke
Mumbai was introduced in the year 2001, for lifetime
achievement in Indian cinema.
1.1 Early life and education
1.2 Early career
1.3.1 Hindustan films
1.3.2 Sound film
2 Selected filmography
3 In popular culture
5 Further reading
6 External links
Early life and education
Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born in a Marathi speaking Deshastha
Brahmin family on 30 April 1870 at Tryambakeshwar, 30 km from
Nashik, Maharashtra, India, where his father was an accomplished
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, Maharaja
Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara, 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 Archaeological Survey
India as a draftsman. However, restless with his job and its
constraints, he turned to the business of printing. He specialised in
lithography and oleograph, 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, machinery and
for art also.
Raja Harischandra 1913, directed by Dadasaheb Phalke
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. Phalke 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. About one year before, Ramchandra Gopal (known as Dadasaheb
Torne) had recorded on stage a film drama called Pundalik and had
shown the recording at the same theatre. However, the credit for
making the first indigenous Indian feature film is attributed to
Dadasaheb Phalke as it is said that "Pundalik" had British
Once again, Phalke proved successful in his new art and proceeded to
make several silent films, shorts, documentary feature, educational
and comic, tapping all the potential of this new medium. Film, having
proved its financial viability, soon attracted businessmen who
favoured 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 and actors but, very soon, he ran into
insurmountable problems with his partners. In 1920, Phalke resigned
from Hindustan Films, made his first announcement of retirement from
cinema, and he wrote Rangbhoomi, an acclaimed play. Lacking his
extremely imaginative genius, Hindustan Films ran into deep financial
losses, 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 from it.
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 and later released with dubbing.
During 1936–38, he produced his last film
before retiring to Nashik, where he died on 16 February 1944.
Picture of Dadasaheb Phalke
Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Mohini Bhasmasur (1913)
Satyavan Savitri (1914)
Lanka Dahan (1917)
Shri Krishna Janma
Shri Krishna Janma (1918)
Kaliya Mardan (1919)
Setu Bandhan (1932)
In popular culture
In 2009, the Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, which was directed
by theatre veteran
Paresh Mokashi and depicts Dadasaheb Phalke's
struggle in making
Raja Harishchandra in 1913, was selected as India's
official entry to the
Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film
^ Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of
Indian cinema – Bāpū Vāṭave,
National Book Trust – Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 17
^ Sachin Sharma, TNN 28 June 2012, 03.36AM IST (28 June 2012). "Godhra
forgets its days spent with
Dadasaheb Phalke – Times of India".
Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 17 November
2012. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Vilanilam, J. V. (2005). Mass Communication in India: A Sociological
Perspective. New Delhi: Sage Publications. p. 128.
^ a b http://niffindia.com/phalke.htm. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
Missing or empty title= (help)[dead link]
^ "Pran chosen for Dada Saheb Phalke award". The Hindu. Chennai,
India. 12 April 2013.
Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award for Yash Chopra, Rajesh Khanna –
The Times of India". The Times of India.
^ "The Father of Indian Cinema- Dadasaheb Phalke".
^ "The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum – Article". Tribuneindia.com.
Retrieved 17 November 2012.
^ "Dada Saheb Phalke – A Distinguished Student of Kalabhavan".
Fortunecity.com. 16 February 1944. Archived from the original on 15
March 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
^ "Raja-Harishchandra - Trailer from - Cast - Showtimes -
NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 5
November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
^ Cybertech. "Hall of Fame : Tribute : Dadasaheb Phalke".
Nashik.com. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 5
^ PTI (20 September 2009). "'Harishchandrachi Factory' India's entry
for Oscars – Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved
17 November 2012.
^ Express News Service. "
Harishchandrachi Factory to tell story behind
making of India's first feature film". Express India. Archived from
the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
Retrieved 20 September 2009. Missing or empty title=
Vatave, Bapu (2004). Dadasaheb Phalke, the Father of Indian Cinema.
National Book Trust. ISBN 812374319X.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dadasaheb Phalke.
List of Silent films made in India
Dadasaheb Phalke on IMDb
Dadasaheb Phalke @ SPICE
Website on Dada Saheb Phalke
Film Academy on Dadasaheb Phalke
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