Dadasaheb Phalke, the painter-photographer who became the father of Indian cinema

After watching a silent film, The Life of Christ, Phalke shut his printing business and decided to become a filmmaker. He made India’s first full length feature film, Raja Harishchandra.

Here’s more about the Father of Indian cinema:

  • Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke, was born on April 30, 1870 in Nasik, Maharashtra.
  • He studied sculpting, engineering, drawing, painting and photography in his younger days
  • He began his career as a photographer in Godhra; later he started working with the Archaeological Survey of India as a draftsman. He also worked with the famous painter, Raja Ravi Varma
  • His first wife and child died during an outbreak of the bubonic plague (also known as the Black Death)
  • Not happy with the job in the Archaeological Survey of India, he started his own printing press. He even went to Germany to learn about the latest technology and machinery used for printing.
  • However, after watching a silent film, The Life of Christ, Phalke found his true calling; he shut his printing business and decided to become a filmmaker
  • In the year 1913, he made India’s first full length feature film, Raja Harishchandra. He was the director, producer, and writer of his debut film.
  • Post the success of his debut movie, Phalke made over 90 movies and 26 short films in a career span of 19 years
  • Dadasaheb Phalke died on February 16, 1944 in Nasik
  • The Government of India started ‘The Dadasaheb Phalke Award’ in his honour; the award is given to film personalities for their lifetime contribution towards the field of cinema.
  • A postage stamp bearing his face was released by India Post to honour Dadasaheb Phalke in 1971.

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