RSS Feed

The History Of Indian Cinema (1912- today )

kamala bai gokhle

India is known for cinema.It’s often said that India has two entertainment lifelines-Bollywood and Cricket.
The Indian cinema ,as we know it , has come a long way.We see special effects and technology today which has made the impossible fantasies come alive today.But there was a time when somebody took an initiative and seeing a moving picture (movie) on a static screen was a itself a fantasy.
At first,movies were imported and exhibited in India.On July 7th,1896,Lumiere Brothers showcased six short movies at Watson Hotel,Esplanade Mansion in Mumbai.The first Indian to make a film was Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar (known as Save Dada). Bhatavdekar was already in possession of a projection apparatus.He imported a British camera and made two short films THE WRESTLERS and MAN AND MONKEY in 1899

A foreigner photographer shot two films COCONUT FAIR and OUR INDIAN EMPIRE in 1897.In 1898,two Italians showcased movies in a tent at Azad Maidan ,Mumbai.
Mumbai was destined to become the hub for the film industry.




In 1912 , Indian audience saw a dream come true on screen.It was a 12 minute short film shown at CORONATION CINEMATOGRAPH at Sandhurst Road,Mumbai.A silent movie that spoke louder than words.

Directed by the trio N G Chitre,P R Tipnis, Ramchandra Gopal Torney ,PUNDALIK (1912) was the first movie made in India.
It was made on a devotional subject (story of Saint Pundalik) which was adapted from a popular stage play by Ramrao Kirtikar.It could be marked as the pilot of Indian Cinema.


Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Raja Harischandra is often considered in the first movie as it was not a short film as PUNDALIK.It was a 40 minutes silent drama produced and directed by none other than Dhundiraj Govind Phalke.The name will sound familiar as you know he is the same DADA SAHEB PHALKE who is still remebered with reverance in the industry.

raja harishchandra

Raja Harishchandra ( 1913 )Actor DD Dabke as Raja Harischandra and Anna Salunke as Queen Taramati

Raja Harischandra premierd on 21 April,1913 and later released on May 3rd ,2013 at Coronation

Dada Saheb Phalke also started the trend of remakes which is so trendy today.In 1917 he directed a remake of his movie by the name of Satyvadi Raja Harischandra.
Cinematograph .Dada Saheb Phalke wanted to cast female artists in the movie but noone agreed to do it.So male actors were dressed as female actors to play the part.Actor D D Dabke played Raja Harishchandra and a male actor Anna Salunke played Rani Taramati.The film opens with an artist showing King Harishchandra, his wife Taramati and his young son. The king is teaching his son archery and they go on a hunt together. The king enters an area controlled by the Sage Vishwamitra.That much is the plot..and the rest is history.



Bhasmasur Mohini 1913

kamala bai gokhle

kamala bai gokhle First Indian Actress

Bhasmasur Mohini or Mohini Bhasmasur was an important milestone in Indian Cinema.It was second movie by D G Phalke (Dada Saheb Phalke)and it was the first movie to have a female actress.Before that male artists used to act as the female characters.The movie was a revolution in itself.
Kamalabai Gokhalewas the first indian female actress. Her daughter Durga also acted in the movie.Kamalabai went on to work in around 35 movies later.Her last movie was Gehrayee (1980).

We salute the first woman who had the courage to come forward and act infront of the camera .
Before her a male artist Anna Salunke played the female character.


Ram Vanvas (1918)

Ram Vanvas will be an important movie as it was the first series.It was a four part series.The first serial released in 1918.It was the first Indian Serial Or a the first movie with sequels .

This was still the british raj and in 1920, Film Censor Board was established in Bombay / Calcutta and Madras.

Bhakta Vidur (1921)
Bhakta Vidur was the first ever movie to be banned in India .This film directed by Kanjibhai Rathod came in the wake of the Rowlatt Act which put restrictions on Indian imports. This mythological allegory hinted at political issues of the day and was banned in Madras and Karachi.
Allegedly the hero looked like Mahatama Gandhi


…..To be continued (The History of Indian Cinema II )





Leave A Reply
  1. chandan says
    June 12, 2012, 7:34 am

    this is one of the best history of indain cimena. very well written and very informative.
    I like the way it has veen presented.In a chronological order with the landmark cinemas and points highlightes. amazing reading experience.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.