76 Facts About Dadasaheb Phalke


Dadasaheb Phalke made 95 feature-length films and 27 short films in his career, spanning 19 years, until 1937, including his most noted works: Mohini Bhasmasur, Satyavan Savitri, Lanka Dahan, Shri Krishna Janma and Kaliya Mardan.


The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, awarded for lifetime contribution to cinema by the Government of India, is named in his honour.


Dhundiraj Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Trimbak, Bombay Presidency into a Marathi-speaking Chitpavan Brahmin family.


Dadasaheb Phalke's father, Govind Sadashiv Phalke alias Dajishastri, was a Sanskrit scholar and worked as a Hindu priest conducting religious ceremonies and his mother, Dwarkabai, was a housewife.


Shivrampant, the eldest, was twelve years elder than Dadasaheb Phalke and worked in Baroda.


Dadasaheb Phalke briefly worked as the Dewan of the princely state of Jawhar and died in 1921, at the age of 63.


Dadasaheb Phalke completed his primary education in Trimbakeshwar and matriculation was done in Bombay.


Dadasaheb Phalke joined the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay in 1885 and completed a one-year course in drawing.


Dadasaheb Phalke was awarded a gold medal for creating a model of an ideal theatre at the 1892 Industrial Exhibition of Ahmedabad.


In 1891, Dadasaheb Phalke did a six-months course to learn the techniques of preparing half-tone blocks, photo-lithio, and three-colour ceramic photography.


Dadasaheb Phalke was given free studio space to start his still photo studio by the prominent Desai family for whom he shot their family photo albums.


Dadasaheb Phalke lost his wife and a child in the 1900 plague epidemic and decided to move to a different city.


Dadasaheb Phalke faced similar resistance from the Prince of Baroda who refused to take photographs with the assumptions that it would shorten his life.


Dadasaheb Phalke started the business of painting the stage curtains for the drama companies.


Dadasaheb Phalke learned magic tricks from a German magician who was on a tour in Baroda that time.


In 1902, Dadasaheb Phalke remarried to Girija Karandikar, niece of proprietor of Kirloskar Natak Mandali.


However, not satisfied with the job, Phalke resigned in 1906 and set up a printing press at Lonavla under the name of "Phalke Engraving and Printing Works" with R G Bhandarkar as a partner.


Dadasaheb Phalke went to Germany in 1909 to buy the necessary colour printing machinery.


Soon, Dadasaheb Phalke decided to abandon the partnership, without availing any monetary benefits.


None of the family members believed them, so Dadasaheb Phalke took his family to see the film the next day.


Dadasaheb Phalke bought a small film camera and reels and started showing movies at night, by focusing candle light on a lens and projecting the pictures on the wall.


Dadasaheb Phalke watched movies every evening for four to five hours and was deprived of sleep.


Dadasaheb Phalke continued working against the advice of taking rest and lost his sight completely.


Dadasaheb Phalke wished to go to London to get technical knowledge of filmmaking but had difficulties getting finances for his trip.


At London, Dadasaheb Phalke saw a nameboard of "Bioscope Cine-Weekly" near Piccadilly Circus.


Dadasaheb Phalke was a subscriber of the weekly in India.


Dadasaheb Phalke met its editor, Mr Cabourn, and explained the purpose of his visit.


Hepworth allowed Dadasaheb Phalke to visit all the departments of the studio and their workings along with the demonstration of filming.


Dadasaheb Phalke stayed in London for two months and returned to India on 1 April 1912.


Dadasaheb Phalke founded the "Phalke Films Company" on the same day.


Dadasaheb Phalke constructed a small glass room at the compound of the bungalow and prepared a dark room and arrangements for processing the film.


Dadasaheb Phalke taught his family to perforate and develop the film.


Dadasaheb Phalke planted some peas in a pot and placed a camera in front of it.


Dadasaheb Phalke shot one frame a day for over a month producing a film just over one minute, of the seed growing, sprouting, and changing into a climber.


Dadasaheb Phalke decided to make a film based on the legends of Harishchandra and wrote the script for it.


Dadasaheb Phalke published advertisements in various newspapers like Induprakash calling for the cast and crew required for the film.


Dadasaheb Phalke requested its proprietor, Raghunathrao Gokhle, to allow two of their actresses to act in the film.


Dadasaheb Phalke made his third film Satyavan Savitri based on the legends of Satyavan and Savitri.


Various producers including Cecil Hepworth of Walton Studios requested Dadasaheb Phalke to produce films in England.


Hepworth placed an offer before Dadasaheb Phalke to produce Indian films in England, bringing cast and crew from India whose expenses on travel, lodging and boarding, and salary would be paid by Hepworth.


Dadasaheb Phalke declined the offer and explained Hepworth that he would continue making films in India.


However, before the official agreements were to be signed, Dadasaheb Phalke had to come back to India after the news about the worrisome condition of his studio.


On returning to India, Phalke noticed that the financial condition had worsened due to ongoing World War I His investor had stopped advancing the capital and asked to shut down the studio.


Dadasaheb Phalke approached Yashwantrao Nadkarni and Abasaheb Chitnis for the loan to bring the equipment bought in London.


Dadasaheb Phalke received a loan on the security of studio and started working on Raja Shreeyal.


Dadasaheb Phalke published an advertisement in the newspapers and distributed handbills, appealing for the help assuring the repayment with interest.


One of them published a letter in the newspaper, Dainik Sandesh, appealing to the leaders of the Indian Home Rule movement who wanted Dadasaheb Phalke to join the movement before any loan could be granted.


Dadasaheb Phalke screened his films at the princely states of Aundh, Gwalior, Indore, Jamkhandi, and Miraj.


Dadasaheb Phalke made a documentary "How Movies Are Made" to demonstrate the filmmaking process to the financiers but it did not help.


The appeal made by Tilak had desired effect and Dadasaheb Phalke could collect sufficient capital to start a new film, Lanka Dahan.


The film was commercially successful and Dadasaheb Phalke could repay all of his debts with its earnings.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Ratanji Tata, and Sheth Manmohandas Ramji collected the capital and approached Dadasaheb Phalke to convert the "Dadasaheb Phalke Films Company" into a limited company, valued at.


Dadasaheb Phalke did not appreciate their interference in film production and partners had concerns over the expenditure incurred and time spent by Dadasaheb Phalke to get desired results.


Dadasaheb Phalke decided to leave the company but his advocate brought to attention the clauses from his agreement with the "Hindustan Cinema Films Company".


The agreement had a span of 15 years and if Dadasaheb Phalke decided to leave the company, he would not be given his share of profit of and would have to pay to the company.


Dadasaheb Phalke announced his retirement and expressed his views in an article published in Navyug.


Dadasaheb Phalke completed writing a Marathi language play Rangbhoomi in about two and a half months.


Dadasaheb Phalke organised the rehearsals of the play at the Aryan Cinema, Poona for almost a year.


Various people tried convincing Dadasaheb Phalke to join back the film industry.


Dadasaheb Phalke declined the offer made by filmmaker Jamshedji Framji Madan to produce films under his film company Madan Theatre.


Achyut Kolhatkar, editor of Marathi newspaper Sandesh, wrote to Dadasaheb Phalke requesting to rethink his decision.


Dadasaheb Phalke replied: "I am dead so far as the cinema industry is concerned and have no inclination to go back to it".


Several readers wrote to Sandesh requesting Dadasaheb Phalke to make a comeback.


The first film Dadasaheb Phalke directed after joining the Hindustan Cinema Films Company was Sant Namdeo which was released on 28 October 1922.


Dadasaheb Phalke continued to have differences with the company owners and he left it twice until 1929.


Not satisfied with the restrictions imposed by the company, Dadasaheb Phalke tried raising the capital for the next film by himself.


Dadasaheb Phalke proposed the merger of the Phalke Diamond Company with his company.


Dadasaheb Phalke joined the company again as a partner and shifted the shooting at Imperial Film Studio of Bombay under the banner of the Hindustan Cinema Films Company.


Ardeshir Irani, the director of Alam Ara, suggested Dadasaheb Phalke to add sound to Setubandhan.


In December 1934, the Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, Rajaram III, invited Dadasaheb Phalke to produce a sound film for his film company "Kolhapur Cinetone".


Dadasaheb Phalke declined the invitation but was again invited by the Maharaja.


Dadasaheb Phalke accepted the invitation and was offered for writing the story and script and as his monthly expenses.


Novelist Narayan Hari Apte helped Dadasaheb Phalke for writing the script and dialogue.


Vishwanath Jadhav composed the music for film and Dadasaheb Phalke wrote the lyrics.


Dadasaheb Phalke retired from the films due to his old age.


The times changed and Dadasaheb Phalke fell victim to the emerging technology of sound film.