Tag Archives: Raja Harishchandra

Dadasaheb Phalke is not the Father of Indian Cinema?

The Indian film fraternity is busy gearing up for the 100 years’ celebration of Indian cinema. Amidst all the fanfare, Pune based brothers Vijay and Anil Torne have challenged its very foundation. According to them, it wasn’t Dadasaheb Phalke but their father Dadasaheb Torne who had produced the first film of Indian cinema, ‘Shree Pundalik’, thereby becoming the rightful claimant to the ‘Father of Indian Cinema’ title. 

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Pic: Newspaper Advertisement of Pundalik of 25th May 1912

“The play was shot in Mumbai at Lamington, Tribhuvan and Vitthalbhai Patel roads. By this time, my father had exhausted all his money. He again approached Bourne and Shepherd company which agreed to process the film in exchange for the Williamson camera. The film was shipped to London where a negative and positive were developed and the positive was sent back to my father for screening,” Anil said.

Ramchandra Gopal popularly known as Dadasaheb Torne had released it on 18th May 1912 at the Coronation Cinematograph, Girgaum, Mumbai. Experts believe that Torne had missed out on the recognition he deserved, because of a few technicalities. Firstly, the movie was a shooting of a popular Marathi play and secondly, it was shot by a British cameraman, Johnson who developed and kept the negatives of the film in London giving Torne only the positive print to bring back home.

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Pic: Dadasaheb Torne

The point I want to make is that William Bolts is considered to have made the first attempt in printing a newspaper in India, but James Augustus Hicky is considered the first one to run a paper. Similarly, Torne should also be given some recognition though that might be petite as compared to that of Phalke.

Recognizing the first attempts in any field, help in dissemination of correct information as well as it makes people inspired to focus their work in those directions. I support the effort by his sons. Do you?  

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