As the temporada of moss and fog knocks our subcontinent, So do the feelings such as nostalgia and euphoria. Yelling ‘It’s Rewind Time’ in Will Smith’s voice. The First Films ever – Indian Edition shines the light upon the firsts of Indian cinema who gave birth to one of the most iconic and the biggest Film Industry in the world. So, Crack your fingers and brace yourselves as the clock reverses it’s hands once more.
First Ever Film Shot in India
The Wrestlers (1899)
Director: H. S. Bhatavdekar
Highly inspired by the magic of the Lumiere’s motion picture which at the time cost Re.1 Bhatavadekar bought his own motion picture camera and shot India’s first film ever ‘The Wrestlers’ which was a wrestling match in Maharashtra. But because the film was not processed in India it is not regarded as India’s first film ever. It was a wrestling match. Thus, falling into the category of the Nickelodeon motion pictures. However, it is definitely the first film to be shot in India and the earliest film of India.
India’s First Feature Length Film Ever
Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Director: Dadasaheb Phalke
Yes, that’s where the name of the Phalke Award has been derived from. Dadasaheb produced and directed Raja Harishchandra, The first film that was shot, produced and edited indigenously. Thus, giving birth to Indian Cinema. The film was a feature length film. Although, most of the original film has been lost, the remaining has made itself a treasure to the National Archives of India. The film is about a righteous king who never lies. People can still access what is left of the film on YouTube.
Trivia: The first female actors in the film were actually males dressed effeminately.
Also checkout – First Films Ever (Global Edition)
India’s First Sound film
Alam Ara (1931)
Director: Ardeshir Irani
Known as the harbinger of sound to Indian cinema, Irani was originally an exhibitor. The debate lay between J.F. Madaan and Ardeshir Irani as to who made the first-ever recorded sound film in India. But because Madaan’s film took too long to process Irani bagged the title with flying colors. The film consists of various songs that were shot in the studio at night to avoid the noise of nearby trains. The story involves a king and his two wives, who are unable to beget.
One of wives has an affair with the army chief and on being caught, gets him imprisoned and his wife evicted. As prophesized by a seer one of the wives gives birth to a son but dies as a mysterious necklace is stolen which possesses the secret to his life. The story ends with the resurrected son and the daughter of the evicted wife living together.
India’s First Color Film
Kisan Kanya (1937)
Director: Moti B. Gidwani
The first Indian Cinecolor feature film, Kisan Kanya came out in 1937, 20 years after The Gulf Between (Hollywood’s first color feature). V. Shantaram had made a film Sairandhiri in 1933 which had scenes in color but because the film was processed in Germany, Kisan Kanya attained the title of India’s first Indigenously made color film. The film included a whopping number of 10 songs. The film is based on a novel by Saadat Hasan Manto and focuses on the hardships that are faced by farmers.
India’s First Film (Controversial)
Shree Pundalik (1912)
Director: Dadasaheb Torne
Again, a quirky ending to a quirky article. Lot has been in controversy as to which film is to be regarded as the first film of India or who is to be regarded as the Father of Indian Cinema. Shree Pundalik released in 1912 was a recorded Marathi play. The film has a duration of 22 mins. It was released in 1912 thus arising towards fame as India’s first film ever but because its processing was done in London, it was deprived of the title. However, Archaeologists and Journalists still argue that Torne was the father of Indian cinema. Also, the information that a British cameraman named Boris was in the crew further added to the argument.