Free Press Journal

On This Day in Bollywood: May 18, 1912 ‘Shree Pundalik’ India’s first feature film turns 106, interesting facts you should know


Dadasaheb Torne

The film Shree Pundalik was the first seed of a feature film sown in India on 18 May, 1912, a year before Dadasaheb Phalke released his full-length film, Raja Harishchandra which is well known by all.

Shree Pundalik was a silent film directed by Ram Chandra Gopal Torne also known as Dadasaheb Torne.

Shree Pundalikwas released in the Coronation Cinematograph Theater in Girgaum, and it was showcased here for two weeks.

The film is based on a Marathi play, Shree Pundalikwas, which is about a Hindu saint. Written by Ramrao Kirtikar, Torne wanted to ideally record the play using an imported camera but he managed to work together with his colleagues Nanasaheb Chitre and Kirtikar by writing a script adequate to shoot a film.

The primary idea was to shoot it exactly like a play but in a realistic location. Hence, Torne staged it on Grant Road in Mumbai (then Bombay). It was cinematographed by Johnson.

Due to lack of technology, editing a film was a task and Torne was not happy with the non-stop recorded film and decided to shoot it in parts and then join it. This marked film editing as a process in India for the first time.

The film was sent overseas for processing and was about 1,500 feet or about 22 minutes long.

Shree Pundalik is not considered as the first Indian feature production, and not the first Indian film, as it was a recording of a Marathi play and its cameraperson or process team were British.


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