Dadasaheb Phalke’s debut work, “Raja Harishchandra”, is recognized as India’s first ever full-length feature film.

Dadasaheb Phalke: Google on Monday honored iconic director Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913, with a doodle on the occasion of his 148th birth anniversary. Phalke was popularly known as Dadasaheb.

Born in Trimbak in present-day Maharashtra, Phalke was the son of a scholar. He developed an interest in the arts and studied diverse subjects such as photography, lithography, architecture, engineering, and magic.


Remembering Raja Harishchandra by Dadasaheb Phalke

The story behind Raja Harishchandra, India’s first feature length film.

Posted by Scroll on Thursday, May 11, 2017

He worked as a painter, draftsman, theatrical set designer and lithographer at different points of his career. One day he chanced upon Alice Guy’s silent film The Life of Christ, which was released in 1910. Phalke, who was also deeply influenced by the works of painter Raja Ravi Varma, decided to bring stories from Indian culture to the silver screen. He traveled to London to learn film-making from Cecil Hepworth, who was one of the founders of the British film industry.

Raja Harishchandra, which earned Phalke the title “Father of Indian cinema”, went on to become huge. He followed it up with a dozen more movies. In 1969, the government instituted the Dadasaheb Phalke award, which recognizes people who have made lifetime contributions to Indian cinema.

Artist Aleesha Nandhra designed the doodle, which shows a young Phalke going about directing the first few classics of Indian cinema.

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