'Raja Harishchandra': Indian cinema was born this day 105 years ago

Updated: May 03, 2018, 14:40 IST | mid-day online correspondent

On this day 104 years ago, in 1913, the first full-length Indian feature film 'Raja Harishchandra', made by Dadasaheb Phalke, was released, marking the birth of Indian cinema

'Raja Harishchandra': Indian cinema was born on this day 102 years ago!
A still from 'Raja Harishchandra'

This is where it all began. Lights, camera, action! In an era where working in cinema was taboo, one man with vision and courage made it possible. Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, a.k.a. Dadasaheb Phalke, made the first ever full-length Indian feature film 'Raja Harishchandra'. A silent movie based on the legend of King Harishchandra, recounted in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, it was released on May 3, 1913. India’s romance with the big screen began, and our lives were never the same again.

To commemorate this historic occasion, we decided to dig up some trivia on what went into the making of the first Indian feature film. Here’s what we found:

1. The film had an all-male cast because no woman was available to play any of the female leads.

2. The reel was 3,700 feet long and had a runtime of 40 minutes

3. Phalke was greatly influenced by the style of painter Raja Ravi Verma in the making of this film.

4. It was first shown on May 3, 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema, Narayan Choyal, Girgaon.

5. Due to the film’s massive success, Phalke had to make more prints for rural areas as well. He was established as a producer and later came to be known as ‘The father of Indian cinema.’

6. His wife, Saraswati Phalke, was also actively involved behind the scenes. She single-handedly managed food for the cast and crew, which comprised over 500 people. She washed clothes and costumes, helped make posters and had a hand in production.

7. The original film was in four reels. The National Film Archive of India has only the first and last reels, though some film historians believe they belong to a 1917 remake of the film, by the same name.

Real to reel:

Harishchandrachi Factory
A still from the Marathi film 'Harishchandrachi Factory'

In 2009, a Marathi film 'Harishchandrachi Factory', directed by Paresh Mokashi, depicted the struggle Dadasaheb Phalke faced while making 'Raja Harishchandra'. The title is based on the fact that, as working in cinema was looked down upon, Dadasaheb advised his artists to tell others that they were working in the factory of a man named Harishchandra.

In September 2009, it was selected as India's official entry for the Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, making it the second film, after ‘Shwaas’ (2004), in Marathi cinema to receive the honour.

Catch up on all the latest entertainment news and gossip here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates

DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

Meet The Winners Of Hello Hall Of Fame Awards 2019

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK
The Guide Restaurant Awards 2019
Vote for your fave Bombay Adda from 6 nominees

Vote for your fave Bombay Adda from 6 nominees