The Indian Film Industry is over a 100 years old. Every era of Indian cinema has been vibrant since its inception. Here are some of the incredible facts about the early days of the film industry:
- On 7th July 1896, French filmmaking duo, the Lumiere Brothers, sent an employee to screen their short films at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai. Harish Chandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar, a local photographer, was present at this screening. Inspired by the films, he ordered his own camera from the UK.
- Harish Chandra Bhatavdekar went on to make India’s first silent motion picture in 1899. The first Indian film was Bhatavdekar’s video of a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Mumbai.
- Hiralal Sen was a renowned film exhibitor who specialized in showing foreign films during theater intervals.
- Jamshedji Madan built the Elphinstone Picture Palace in Kolkata in 1907. This is India’s first cinema hall, exclusively meant for the screening of motion pictures.
- Film Historians state that 99% of India’s silent films are lost.
- Foreign filmmakers were drawn to India and frequently shot documentary footage here. Charles Urban, a British filmmaker, made With Our King and Queen Through India in 1911. This documentary, capturing the visit of King George V to the Royal Durbar, became an international success.
- Dadasaheb Phalke’s 1913 film, Raja Harischandra was the first film to use editing and stop motion animation. His work is frequently considered the “first film of Indian manufacture”.
- Alam Ara (1931) is the first Indian film with sound.
- Indian films were sent to international festivals as early as the 1940s. Neecha Nagar by Chetan Anand won the Palm d’or or Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946.
The Indian film industry made great strides despite an oppressive British regime. At the time, the vernacular papers were too involved in politics to provide any coverage to these developments. However, Indian films would later play an important role in the fight for independence.
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