Monday, January 31, 2011

Dadasaheb Phalke; an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, the father of Indian cinema, Raja Harishchandra, the German magician Carl Hertz, Hindustan Films, the Directorate of Film Festivals, India, The Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke (30 April 1870 - 16 February 1944) was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, known as the father of Indian cinema . Starting with his debut film, Raja Harishchandra 1913, now known as India's first full-length feature, he made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career span of 19 years, till 1937, including his most noted works, Mohini Bhasmasur (1913),Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919)
Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Trimbakeshwar, 30 km from Nashik, Maharashtra, India , where his father was an accomplished Sanskrit scholar.

He joined Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1885. After passing from J.J.School in 1890, Phalke went to the Kala Bhavan in Baroda, where he studied Sculpture, Engineering Drawing, Painting and Photography.

He began his career as a small town photographer in Godhra district of Gujrat but had to leave business after the death of his first wife and child in an outbreak of the bubonic plague. He soon met the German magician Carl Hertz, one of the 40 magicians employed by the Lumiere Brothers.

Soon after, he had the opportunity to work with the Archeological Survey of India as a draftsman. However, restless with his job and its constraints, he turned to the business of printing. He specialized in lithography and oleograph, and worked for painter Raja Ravi Varma. Phalke later started his own printing press, made his first trip abroad to Germany, to learn about the latest technology and machinery.

However, following a dispute with his partners about the running of the press, he gave up printing and turned his attention to moving pictures, after watching a silent film, The Life of Christ and envisioning Indian gods on the screen. He made his first film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1912; it was first shown publicly on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema , effectively marking the beginning of the Indian film industry. Around one year before, Ramchandra Gopal (known as Dadasaheb Torne) had filmed a stage drama called Pundalik and shown it in the same theater. However, the credit for making the first Indian feature film is attributed to Dadasaheb Phalke.

Once again, Phalke proved successful in his new art, and proceeded to make several silent films, shorts, documentary feature, educational, comic, tapping all the potential of this new medium. However, film, having proved its financial viability, soon attracted businessmen who favored money over aesthetics.

Phalke formed a film company, Hindustan Films in partnership with five businessmen from Mumbai, in the hope that by having the financial aspect of his profession handled by experts in the field, he would be free to pursue the creative aspect. He set up a model studio and trained technicians, actors, but very soon, he ran into insurmountable problems with his partners. In 1920, Phalke resigned from Hindustan company, made his first announcement of retirement from cinema,and he wrote 'Rangbhoomi', an acclaimed play.

But lacking his imaginative genius, the Hindustan company ran into deep financial loss, and he was finally persuaded to return. However, Phalke felt constrained by the business, and, after directing a few films for the company, he withdrew.

But then the times changed, and Phalke fell victim to the emerging technology of sound film. Unable to cope with the talkies, the man who had fathered the Indian film industry became obsolete. His last silent movie “Setubandhan” was released in 1932, which later released by dubbing voice. During 1936-38, he produced his last film Gangavataran (1937), before retiring to Nashik, where he died in 16 February 1944.

Dadasaheb Phalke (30 April 1870 - 16 February 1944)

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime contribution to Cinema, was instituted in his honour, by Govt. of India in 1969, and is the most prestigious and coveted award in Indian Cinema.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema given annually by the Indian government for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. It was instituted in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, considered the father of Indian cinema.

The award for a particular year is given during the end of the following year along with the National Film Awards. The award comprises a Swarna Kamal (golden lotus) medallion, a cash prize of 1 million and a shawl

The Bombay High Court had directed the Directorate of Film Festivals, India (DFFI) to consider uncensored films for the competition, a case which DFFI contested and won in the Supreme Court in late 2006. The case had delayed announcement of the award for 2006, which was announced in the middle of 2008. The 2007 award which had to be announced at the end of 2008 was announced in September 2009. The 2008 award was announced on 19 January 2010 and 2009 award was announced on 9 September 2010.

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