Dadasaheb Phalke gets tribute at heritage Parel park

A part of century-old Nare Park will be turned into a theme garden dedicated to the father of Indian cinema


Dadasaheb Phalke. Pic/wikicommons

Getting into the skin of renowned filmmaker and scriptwriter Dadasaheb Phalke, who shaped Indian cinema between the 1920s and 1970s, will be as simple as taking a walk in the park. As part of the BMC's redevelopment of the century-old Nare Park in Parel, a quarter of the 10,000 sqm ground will be turned into a theme garden on Phalke's filmography.

The CIVIC body's garden department plans on displaying the father of Indian cinema's body of work through posters and boards describing his contribution to Indian cinema, and installing a replica of the camera that was used in the initial days of Indian filmmaking.


The redevelopment of heritage site Nare Park in Parel will cost around R2-3 crore. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar

The theme garden plan has been put into motion following persistent demands by local Ganesh mandals as well as netas on paying tribute to Phalke, who was a resident of Parel. "We will place posters of his films along with description of his work," said a senior civic officer involved with the revamp project. "But, we are being cautious while preparing the proposal to ensure that the heritage committee doesn't see a problem."

The heritage committee has to approve any and all changes made to a heritage site.

The entire redevelopment of Nare Park will cost around R2-R3 crore. Although it is not known how much the Dadasaheb Phalke garden's revamp alone would cost, the official assured that "there would be no shortage of funds".

Pic courtesy/phalkefilmacademy.com
Pic courtesy/phalkefilmacademy.com

The BMC is also planning on organising heritage walks in Dadar and Parel, covering Haffkine Institute (one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in the country) and KEM Hospital. The walk may also include the recently discovered milestone near KEM Hospital -- Mathura Bhavan -- where Phalke shot his first film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).

Besides, the civic body is restoring two British-era milestones in Parel, said sources.

Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner, F-South ward (Parel), said the plan is still on the drawing board. "Only after it is finalised will the proposal be tabled before the authorities."

The father of Indian cinema

Starting with his debut film, Raja Harishchandra in 1913, now known as India’s first full-length feature, Dadasaheb Phalke made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career spanning 19 years, till 1937. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was instituted in his honour by the Centre in 1969. The award is the highest official recognition for film personalities.

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