‘Raja Harischandra’, the First Indian Feature Film

Posted: 05/05/2021 by vequinox in Literature


41L0oC-7+lLOn the 3rd of May 1913, the first all-Indian feature film, Raja Harischandra, was first shown to the public at Bombay’s Coronation Cinema, Girgaon. This 40-minute silent film, directed by Dadasaheb Phalke, was so successful that more copies had to be soon produced and sent out to rural areas, where the public could experience for the first time one of the wonders of the Western world brought to India with the process of colonisation. The popularity of the new medium had begun to grow steadily, and by 1939 cinema was the eighth largest industry in India and the third largest cinema in the world.

Phalke, commonly regarded as ‘the father of Indian cinema’, had become obsessed with the possibilities given by the new medium: “In 1910 I happened to see the film Life of Christ at the American-Indian Picture Palace in Bombay. …While the life of Christ…

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