April 30, 2018
Dadasaheb Phalke’s 148th Birthday
Almost 150 years ago on this date, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born in Trimbak in present-day Maharashtra.
The son of a scholar, Phalke developed a keen interest in the arts and studied at various points, photography, lithography, architecture, engineering, and even magic. After stints as a painter, draftsman, theatrical set designer, and lithographer, he chanced upon Alice Guy's silent film, The Life of Christ (1910).
Already deeply influenced by the works of painter, Raja Ravi Varma, Phalke resolved to bring Indian culture to the silver screen. He traveled to London to learn filmmaking from Cecil Hepworth.
In 1913, India’s first silent film, Raja Harishchandra was released. Phalke’s magic touch with special effects and mythology made it a huge hit, and it was followed by a dozen more.
In 1969, the Government of India paid homage to this visionary filmmaker by establishing the Dadasaheb Phalke award recognizing lifetime contributions to Indian cinema.
Today’s Doodle by guest artist Aleesha Nandhra shows a young Dadasaheb in action as he went about directing the first few gems in the history of Indian cinema. Happy Birthday!
Early draft of the doodle below: