Dadasaheb Phalke Death Anniversary: Lesser-known facts about the 'Father of Indian Cinema'

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born on 30th May 1870 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He went to Sir J.J School Of Art in Mumbai where he studied drawing and painting. He also attended Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and completed a course in Oil Painting and Watercolor painting.

Phalke's work in the field of modelling and and architecture was exemplary. He was awarded a gold medal for creating a model of an ideal theatre at 1892 Industrial Exhibition.

Under the guidance of Babulal Varuvalkar, Phalke learned three-color blockmaking, darkroom printing and various other techniques required for mastering the art of photography.

Dadasaheb moved to Godra, Gujrat in order to become a professional photographer. Although, he left photography after he lost his first wife and child to bubonic plague in 1900.

He started painting the stage curtains for different drama companies where he keenly noticed everything from direction to make-up and costumes of the actors. He also acted in a few plays thereafter.

Phalke is called a magician, well he indeed was one. He learned special magic tricks from a German magician in Baroda and performed stage shows as Professor Kelpha.

In 1903, he started working with Archaeological Survey of India as a photographer and draftsman which he left in 1906 to start his own printing press under the name "Phalke Engraving and Printing Works".

Dadasaheb Phalke went through numerous hardships and extreme financial debts to bring his vision to the silver screen. For his first film 'Harishchandra', he handled direction, distribution, set-building.

He also played the role of Harishchandra in the flick and had to cast a man for the female lead as no woman was willing to work. The man changed the entertainment industry forever. In his honor, the Government of India named one of the most prestigious awards in Indian Cinema after him.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal