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Raja Harishchandra – Some Amazing Facts About India’s First Movie

If we say that Indians have only two loves when it comes to entertainment and sport, then we can’t be totally wrong. Over the years this fact has been strongly true that the people’s in India blindly love Bollywood and Cricket. From last 40 years, the love for the movies might have changed but cricket still remains the most loved sport in India leaving behind the National game Hockey. Well, we are not here to start an argument what Indians love most but some great facts about how the footprints of Indian cinema started. The movie got produced, directed, and written by our beloved Dhundiraj Govind Phalke in the year 1913, whom we respectfully call as Dadasaheb Phalke. Here we will go through some astonishing facts about India’s first movie Raja Harishchandra which was a silent movie.

Let’s Revisit Some Hidden Facts About India’s First Movie Raja Harishchandra:

1. It released in the year 1913 on the April 21. The film had its first screening at Olympia Theatre, Grant Road, Mumbai, where the press personalities and few famous personalities got an invitation to view it. It later went onto screened publicly at Coronation Cinema.

Raja Harishchandra, Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Theater, Marathi, Olympia Theater, Mumbai, Grant Road, Press, Coronation Cinema, Bolywood, Indian, India, Cricket, Dadasaheb Phalke, Mythology, Ravi Verma, Audience, European, London, Premier, Painting, Cinema, Sword, King, Pune, Girls, Village, Insurance, Jewelleries, Queen, Taramati, Annasaheb Salunkhe, Cinematographer, British,
Image: i.ndtvimg.com

2. Raja Harishchandra, India’s first movie is just four reels long, and it took 7 months and 21 days to complete the entire film. The run-time of the film is 40 minutes.

Raja Harishchandra, Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Theater, Marathi, Olympia Theater, Mumbai, Grant Road, Press, Coronation Cinema, Bolywood, Indian, India, Cricket, Dadasaheb Phalke, Mythology, Ravi Verma, Audience, European, London, Premier, Painting, Cinema, Sword, King, Pune, Girls, Village, Insurance, Jewelleries, Queen, Taramati, Annasaheb Salunkhe, Cinematographer, British,
Image: bollyspice.com

3. The godfather of the Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke created a studio at the main road of Dadar for this project. His set got motivation from the Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings on Hindu mythology.

Raja Harishchandra, Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Theater, Marathi, Olympia Theater, Mumbai, Grant Road, Press, Coronation Cinema, Bolywood, Indian, India, Cricket, Dadasaheb Phalke, Mythology, Ravi Verma, Audience, European, London, Premier, Painting, Cinema, Sword, King, Pune, Girls, Village, Insurance, Jewelleries, Queen, Taramati, Annasaheb Salunkhe, Cinematographer, British,
Image: tripadvisor.com

4. The movie revolves around the noble and conscientious king Harischandra who to complete his promise towards sage Vishwamitra abandons his wife and family and becomes devout of the God. Seeing his dedication and true following towards the spirituality and morals God becomes happy and returns all his fame and showers him with immense blessing to rise again.

Raja Harishchandra, Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Theater, Marathi, Olympia Theater, Mumbai, Grant Road, Press, Coronation Cinema, Bolywood, Indian, India, Cricket, Dadasaheb Phalke, Mythology, Ravi Verma, Audience, European, London, Premier, Painting, Cinema, Sword, King, Pune, Girls, Village, Insurance, Jewelleries, Queen, Taramati, Annasaheb Salunkhe, Cinematographer, British,
Image: couponraja.in

5. The character of the Raja Harishchandra is played by the Marathi theater actor Dattatraya Damodar Dabke.

Raja Harishchandra, Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Theater, Marathi, Olympia Theater, Mumbai, Grant Road, Press, Coronation Cinema, Bolywood, Indian, India, Cricket, Dadasaheb Phalke, Mythology, Ravi Verma, Audience, European, London, Premier, Painting, Cinema, Sword, King, Pune, Girls, Village, Insurance, Jewelleries, Queen, Taramati, Annasaheb Salunkhe, Cinematographer, British,
Image: cloudfront.net

6. Dadasaheb Phalke tried hard to cast a female character for the role of Raja Harishchandra’s wife Queen Taramati but got no success. The reason was that during the British conservative society era women’s had restrictions from performing in the films or theaters. He approached few dancing girls, but it yields no result.

7. After so many unsuccessful attempts he finally roped a male to portray a female character of Queen Taramati. Dadasaheb Phalke decided to cast a cook for the role from a restaurant which was a very unconventional thing those days. The man behind the Queen role was none another than famous cinematographer Annasaheb Salunkhe who got popular for the portrayal of female roles on the screen later on.

Image: media2.intoday.in
Image: media2.intoday.in

8. Dadasaheb Phalke was so eager to make the film that he utilizes his insurance policies and his wife jewelleries to raise money for the film.

9. Since it was totally a new kind of thing for Indian peoples, they mistook the sword props as real ones and got frightened for a little while during the shootings. Also, the outdoor shoot of the movie took place in a village in Pune.

Image: bp.blogspot.com
Image: bp.blogspot.com

10. The movie ran for 23 days and was also got to premier in London in 1914. Also, to promote his film among the audience, he cast two European dancing girls to woo viewers.

11. For the marketing of the film, Dadsaheb got inspiration from this punchline: “A performance with 57,000 photographs. A picture two miles long. All for only three annas”.

12. His family was an integral part of the movie and was firmly behind him. Dadasaheb Phalke’s wife handled the production and technical department and also cooked for the crew. His son also played the character of Raja Harishchandra’s son in the flick.

Image: media2.intoday.in
Image: media2.intoday.in

The reason for selecting this subject for his movie was basically two things. One was that this story at that time was hugely popular and got portrayed on almost every stage show. Secondly, he was highly inspired by the Ravi Verma’s paintings of the story. Whatever could be the reason but this paved the way for a bigger feat of Indian cinema, and it’s still inspiring every filmmaker and lovers of cinema. You can also watch this silent movie on YouTube link provided here.

These are few awesome facts about the first Indian movie. Enjoy reading about it. Till then, keep on reading and don’t forget to subscribe us.

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