We all know and love Bollywood for it’s masala, magic, colours, climactic scenes and of course drama and romance but the film that set the ball rolling was so very different. Raja Harishchandra directed by Dadasaheb Phalke and first shown on May 3, 1913 in Bombay was a humble black-and-white silent production which ran about 50 minutes.
Ta-daa! THIS is the silent film that launched 100 years of Bollywood. It all started with a humble black-and-white silent movie screened for the first time 100 years ago – technically yesterday since it’s now past midnight! Wanna see?
Based on an epic Hindu tale, Raja Harishchandra is the story of a noble king (Harishchandra) who sacrifices his kingdom, wife and son to fulfill his promise to the revered Indian sage Vishwamitra. Impressed by his ideals, the gods declare him to be the living embodiment of truth and restore him to his former regal glory.
The film was an instant hit across India, with audiences totally cool with the fact that all the female roles in the film were played by men (since female actors were of course frowned upon at the time!)
Phalke, who started out as small time photog made 95 feature films and is considered the father of Indian cinema.
Bollywood produced almost 1,500 movies in 2012 and because it is our 100th year India will be honoured as the “guest country” at this month’s Cannes Film Festival in France. It’s all happening people!