Back in Time is ED’s newspaper-like column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.
16th February 1944: Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, an Indian producer-director-screenwriter who is known as the Father of Indian cinema died today at the age of 73. He was popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke.
He was born at Trimbak, Maharashtra into a Marathi-speaking Chitpavan Brahmin family.
He began his career as a small town photographer in Godhra but left it soon after the death of his first wife and child during an outbreak of the Bubonic plague.
Phalke decided to try his hand at filmmaking after watching ‘The Life of Christ’, a silent film. Raja Harishchandra was his debut film, which was the first Marathi cinema and the first Indian movie in 1913.
The success of Raja Harishchandra gave him the confidence of making more movies. It was due to the growing popularity of Indian films, the businessmen became interested in investing money in the films.
Dadasaheb Phalke made 95 feature-length films and 27 short films in his career, spanning 19 years, until 1937. His most popular works are Mohini Bhasmasur, Satyavan Savitri, Lanka Dahan, Shri Krishna Janma and Kaliya Mardan.
He formed Hindustan films (the first film company) along with some businessmen in Bombay, who were partners in the same.
Phalke was a visionary who foresaw the potential of the film medium and also made people realize its cultural and financial worth.
It is through his relentless commitment and earnest efforts, cinema has become an inevitable part of Indian culture in today’s world.
Post Scriptum: In 1969, the Government of India instituted the ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Award’, for lifetime contribution to cinema in his honor.
The Directorate of Film Festivals, an organization set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting presents the award annually at the National Film Awards ceremony.
Shashi Kapoor, Gulzar, and Vinod Khanna are some popular celebs who have won this award.
This award is one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema and is the highest official recognition for film personalities in the country.
India Post released a postage stamp bearing his likeness in 1971 to honor him.
In 2001, the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Mumbai was introduced for lifetime achievement in Indian cinema.
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