Jun 5, 2023
Do you know which was Bollywood’s 1st Movie? When it was released? Who were the actors? Let’s have a look on all!

When was the 1st cinema movie released? What was it’s name? Who was the director?

Bollywood/Cinema dropped it’s 1st movie on 3rd of May, 1913 i.e. before Independence! Movie’s name is Raja Harichandra which was directed and produced by Dadasahab Phalke.  It is often considered the first full-length Indian feature film. Raja Harishchandra features Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, Anna Salunke, Bhalchandra Phalke, and Gajanan Vasudev Sane and is based on the legend of Harishchandra, with Dabke playing the titular role. 

Dadasaheb Phalke was interested in filmmaking ever since he went to watch Amazing Animals at the America India Picture Palace, he was amazed looking at animals on the screen. The very next day, he took his entire family to watch another movie ‘The Life of Christ’ which was screening as it was Easter. The legend envisioned Hindu deities such as Ram and Krishna on screen. He travelled to London to learn filmmaking. Once he returned to India, he founded the Phalke Films Company in 1912.

About “Raja Harishchandra”Movie

After returning to India, he published advertisements in various newspapers calling for the cast and crew. As no women were available to play female roles, male actors performed the female roles. Phalke was in charge of scriptment, direction, production design, make-up, film editing, along with film processing. 

The film completed its shoot in six months and 27 days. Once released, the film was a commercial success and laid the foundation for the film industry in the country. Some film historians believe these belong to a 1917 remake of the film by Phalke titled Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra. The Government of India, however, recognises Raja Harishchandra as the first Indian feature film.

Raja Harishchandra – Cast & Crew

DD DabkeRaja Harishchandra
Anna SalunkeKala Kanshik’s Wife
Ganpat G. ShindeDome’s Wife
Bhalachandra D. PhalkeRohitas
P.G. SaneTaramati
Dattatreya TelangDome
Vishnu Hari AundhkarKala Kaushik
G.V. SaneVishwamitra
Nath T. TelangSankar
{In credits order)

Cinematography – Dhundiraj Govind, Phalke, Trymbak B. Telang

Produced by – Dhundiraj govind, Phalke


King Harishchandra (D. D. Dabke) is shown teaching his son, Rohitashva (Bhalchandra Phalke), how to shoot with a bow and arrow in the presence of Queen Taramati (Anna Salunke). His citizens ask him to go on a hunting expedition. While on the hunt, Harishchandra hears the cries of some women. He reaches a place where the sage Vishvamitra (Gajanan Sane) is performing a yajna to get help from Triguna Shakti (three powers) against their will. Harishchandra unwittingly interrupts Vishvamitra in the midst of his yajna by releasing the three powers. To appease Vishvamitra’s wrath, Harishchandra offers his kingdom. Returning to the royal palace, he informs Taramati of the happenings. Vishvamitra sends Harishchandra, Taramati, and Rohitashva in exile and asks them to arrange for dakshina. While in exile, Rohitashva dies and Harishchandra sends Taramati to ask the Dom king for arranging a free cremation. While Taramati is on her way to meet the Dom king, Vishvamitra frames her for the murder of the prince of Kashi. Taramati faces trial, pleads guilty and is ordered to be beheaded by Harishchandra. When he raises his sword to complete his task, a pleased Lord Shiva appears. Vishvamitra reveals that he was examining Harishchandra’s integrity, returns the crown to him and brings Rohitashva back to life.

Budget & Overall Collection

Those interested in films know that the first film made in our country was Raja Harishchandra. It was a speechless film. It was built by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. But, it is not known that this film was made in ten thousand and earned about 47 thousand rupees. The two-day Silent Era Film Festival, organized by Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Ranchi, began at Ranchi Press Club on Wednesday. The festival was inaugurated by Dr. Ajay Kumar Mishra, Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Ranchi.

The chief guest of the festival, Rishi Prakash Mishra said that in today’s era people are forgetting the old things. We need to know our culture. This film festival reminds us of that era. Then there were only men for female characters.

Making of “Raja Harishchandra” Movie

Even as he cast Dattatraya Damodar Dabke, a Marathi stage actor, to play the lead role of Raja Harishchandra, Dadasaheb Phalke reached the end of his rope trying to cast a woman for the role of Harishchandra’s wife, Taramati. Acting wasn’t considered to be a respectable profession those days, and Phalke even tried his hand at casting sex workers – and failed.

Finally, he cast a male actor, Anna Salunke, who worked as a cook in a restaurant, for the role of Taramati. He cast his own son, Bhalchandra D Phalke as Lohitashwa, Harishchandra’s son.

Phalke set up a studio in Mumbai’s Dadar, where he shot a part of Raja Harishchandra. The film’s outdoor scenes were shot in a village near Pune. It took Phalke seven months and 21 days to complete the film, during which his wife looked after all the needs of the cast and crew.

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