Google today marked the 148th birth anniversary of the father of Indian Cinema Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke with a Doodle.
From a young age, Dadasaheb Phalke developed a keen interest in the arts, studying photography, lithography, architecture, engineering and even magic. He went on to work as a painter, draftsman, theatrical set designer and lithographer. However, it was a chance encounter with Alice Guy’s silent film The Life of Christ (1910) that changed his life. Phalke, who decided to bring Indian culture to the silver screen, traveled to London to learn filmmaking from Cecil Hepworth.
In 1913, producer-director-screenwriter Dadasaheb Phalke gave Indian Cinema its first silent film Raja Harishchandra. The movie captured the imagination of thousands of Indians, who were delighted with the subject he chose for the film and the smooth trick photography and technology that was used.
He went on to make 130 films in his career spanning 19 years. Some of his best known works are Mohini Bhasmasur, Satyavan Savitri, Lanka Dahan, Shri Krishna Janma and Kaliya Mardan.
He made 130 films in his lifetime, which is a great feat considering the technology that was available at that time. He struggled against all odds and despite the displeasure of the British, the advent of the World War and his own financial struggles, he accomplished his dream of having an Indian film industry, said his great-grandniece Sharayu Phalke Summanwar, whose book The Silent Film contains details of Phalke’s personal life as well as his prolific film career.
Dadasaheb Phalke’s last silent movie Setubandhan was released in 1932. He died on February 16, 1944.
In 1969, The Government of India established The Dadasaheb Phalke Award which recognises lifetime contributions to India cinema. The award is considered as one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema.
The award is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony. Actress Devika Rani was the first recipient of this award and other noted personalities include Raj Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Yash Chopra, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal. Vinod Khanna, who became only the second person to be posthumously presented the award, is the most recent recipient of the award this year.