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Phalke's journey inspired Harishchandrachi Factory

india Updated: Sep 22, 2009 20:15 IST

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Harishchandrachi Factory, the Marathi movie which beat off competition from Bollywood hits like New York and Delhi 6 to become India's official entry to the Oscars, showcases the story behind the making of country's first feature film.

Interestingly, the film with an out-of-box theme was hardly in news even in the local media here and its nomination has excited regional filmmakers.

But what inspired the people behind the movie to get into the act in the first place?

The film tells the story of Dadasaheb Phalke, father of Indian cinema, as he struggled to make India's first film 'Raja Harishchandra' in 1913.

"It is ironic that we have the highest film award instituted in the name of the pioneer of the India cinema Dadasaheb Phalke but nobody had thought of story behind the birth of the country's first movie--Raja Harishchandra--made by Phalke", executive producer Srirang Godbole told PTI.

The trials and tribulations of Phalke, who spent Rs 35000 in those days on the movie, went to London to acquire movie camera with which he was to make his pioneering film in the country, is still unknown to the Indian cine-goers, he said.
Explaining the reference to 'Factory' in the title of the movie, Godbole said, "Those days when Phalke started making his movie, acting in theatre or cinema was a taboo. To make things comfortable for those involved in the project, Phalke advised members of his unit to tell people that they (artistes) were working in the factory of one 'Harishchandra'. MORE

The silent film Raja Harishchandra made in 1913 portrayed the king who epitomised highest commitment to truth and sanctity of the 'promised' word in Hindu mythology, signalled the beginning of the celluloid journey of India.

The shoot for 'Harishchandrachi Factory', directed by Paresh Mokashi began in Pune, after an extensive research on Phalke's struggle with authentic details from various quarters and inputs from the experts on silent movie era, he said.
Recalling Phalke's voyage to London, Godbole said Dadasaheb Phalke managed to get the address of the firm that sold 'Willimson' movie camera there and after striking the deal for its purchase decided to undergo technological training in the British capital.

Phalke's trip to London is an interesting episode in 'Harishchandrachi Factory' and it was a challenge to recreate the social milieu prevalent then in a European city, he said.