February 16 marks the 79th death anniversary of the 'Father of Indian cinema', Dadasaheb Phalke. Recalling his contribution to Indian cinema, veteran producer Anand Pandit says,"The Indian film industry owes its inception to Dadasaheb Phalke as he was the pioneer who invented the cinematic language that we now use to tell our stories. He showed filmmakers how to bring their dreams to life on celluloid by making India’s first full-length feature film, 'Raja Harishchandra' in 1913 and laid the foundation of the industry that we are so proud of today."
Pandit recalls the challenging journey of a small-town photographer who dreamed to be a filmmaker and says, "It could not have been easy but Dadasaheb had an insatiable desire to expand his horizons. He started a printing press, went to London to study cinema, was a tireless learner and went on to make India’s first silent film. He has 95 movies and 27 short films to his credit in a short span of 19 years at a time when we had limited technological resources! His mythological movies like 'Mohini Bhasmasur', 'Satyavan Savitri', 'Lanka Dahan', 'Shri Krishna Janma', and 'Kaliya Mardan' were technically sound and sheer marvels of storytelling. Cinema has come a long way from the 1930s, but nothing matches the perfectionism and beauty of Dadasaheb's works."
Pandit hopes that young and aspiring filmmakers will make an attempt to learn more about Dadasaheb and cites the example of Marathi biographical film, 'Harishchandrachi Factory' which tried to encapsulate his life. Says he, "Dadasaheb was an institution and his contribution to Indian cinema is multi-dimensional.He was an art student and had a vast knowledge of architecture which helped him create backdrops for his movies. Apart from directing, producing, scripting, and acting, he was even involved in the technical aspects of moviemaking. He handled photography, processed films, and even helped in designing costumes."
Pandit believes the Dadasaheb Phalke Award constituted by the Government of India in 1969 is a perfect tribute to his stature and concludes," As a producer, I always look upon him and try to imbibe his never-to-say-die attitude. I am hugely inspired by his determination, vision, and courage. It was his undying passion that never made him worry about failures or rejections. As we all know, cinema is an industry of uncertainties, but holding on to steadfast values like these can lead us to success."