It was the year 1910.
The film` Life of Christ’ was released in Mumbai. Among the the viewers was a person who found the mission of his life after watching the film which, more than 100 years age, was a new concept in the world. Within two months that person watched every film released in the city.
He made up his mind to devote his life to film making. This person was no one else, but the Father of the Indian Film Industry, `Dada Saheb Phalke’.
The real name of Dada Saheb Phalke was `Dhundiraj Govind Phalke’. He was born in Tryambayekshwar near Nashik city on April 30, 1870. His father Daji Shashtri was a great Sanskrit Scholar. A few years after the birth of Dada Saheb Phalke, his family had moved to Mumbai for a better life. He got admission in J J College of Arts in the year 1885.
To fulfil his dream of becoming a film maker, Dada Saheb went to London in the year 1912 after borrowing some money from his friend. For about two weeks, he learnt the technique of film making. Then after buying some equipments for film making, he returned to Mumbai.
Dada Saheb Phalke established the `Phalke Film Company’ in Mumbai and decided to make a film `Raja Harishchandra’ under its banner. At this time he met dealer of the photography equipments, Yashwant Nadkarni.Nadkarni agreed to become the financer of the proposed film.
Dada Saheb wanted some acrtress to play the role of the heroine in his film, but in those days it was considered a bad practice for women to come out openly in public or act in film or theatre. Later Phalke sighted one cook-Salunke and he made this man play the role of the woman in the film. Besides directing the film, Dada Saheb Phalke also wrote the script, did photography and editing. Not satisfied with all these roles, Phalke also distributed the film himself.
Dada Saheb Phalke’s wife helped him a lot in the making of he film. During the shooting of the film, she used to cook for 500 members of the film unit and even washed their clothes. The total expenditure on the film was Rs 15,000.
During those days more than a century ago, this was considered a huge sum for anybody. At last the day arrived for the release of the first Indian film. On May 3, 1913, the film was shown to the audience. The 40-minute film received tremendous response from the public. Everyone who saw, liked the film. Everyone became curious to see the film to experience the thrill and excitement.
`Raja Harishchandra proved to be a superhit. Later Dada Saheb Phalke made some other films as well, including `Mohini Bhashmasur’, Satyawan-Savitri’, `Lanka Dahan’, Shri Krishna Janam and `Kalia Mardan’ . In 1920 the taste of the audience changed from the religious films to action films.
This gave a great setback to Dada Saheb Phalke Looking at the business minded attitude of the film makers, Dada Saheb Phalke retired from film making in the year 1928. Looking at his great contribution to the Indian film industry, the Central Government instituted an award-`Dada Saheb Phalke Award’ in his name on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary, Film actress and producer Devika Rani was the first artist from the film industry to receive this prestigious and highest film award.
In his three decade long career, Dada Sahab directed as many as 100 films. 1937 film, `Gangavataram’proved to be the last film of his cine career. After entertaining the Indians for around 30 years, Dada Saheb Phalke passed away very quietly on February 16, 1944.
It is noteworthy to note that on May 4, the 63rd National Film Awards ceremony was organized at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. In this programme 74-years-old Manoj Kumar, writer, director and producer, who used to make patriotic films was given the Dada Saheb Phalke Award . Manoj Kumar got the award for the year 2015.
This is the biggest award to be given in the film industry for the greatest contribution to entertainment. Last year thefilm actor Shashi Kapoor was the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
Dada Saheb Phalke award is given to recognize the contributions of film personalities towards the development of Indian cinema. The award comprise a Gold Lotus, a shawl and a cash prize of 10 lac. The five-member Jury this year consisted of great singer Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota.
The entire Jury made a uninamous choice to give the award to Manoj Kumar.