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Monday, January 28, 2013

Raja Harishchandra (1913) & The Childhood of Krishna Kaliya Mardan (1919)

Raja Harishchandra (1913)

Raja Harishchandra (translation: King Harishchandra) is a 1913 silent Indian film directed and produced by Marathi icon Dadasaheb Phalke and is the first full-length Indian feature film.

The film was based on the legend of King Harishchandra, recounted in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The film revolves around the noble and righteous king, Harishchandra, who first sacrifices his kingdom, followed by his wife and eventually his children to honour his promise to the sage Vishwamitra. Though, in the end, pleased by his high morals, the Gods are pleased and restore his former glory, and further bestow him with divine blessings.

Dattatraya Damodar Dabke as Raja Harishchandra
Salunke as Taramati
Bhalachandra D. Phalke

Directed & Produced by Dadasaheb Phalke for Phalke Films
Written by Dadasaheb Phalke
Story by Ranchhodbai Udayram
Cinematography, Trymbak B. Telang
Release date: 1913
Running time: 40 minutes
Country: India

The film premiered on 21 April 1913 at the Olympia Theatre, Grant Road for a selective audience that included famous personalities of Mumbai and editors of many newspapers.

It was first shown in public on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema, Girgaon, where crowds thronged the roads outside the hall, as it marked the beginning of the Indian film industry. The film was so successful that Dada Saheb had to make more prints to show the film in rural areas as well. The film was a grand success and soon established Phalke as a producer and paved the way for the Indian film industry.

The Childhood of Krishna Kaliya Mardan (1919)

The playmates of Krishna are insulted by a female villager who splashes water on them. They take revenge by stealing butter from her house. When they are beaten up by the woman, they again take revenge with the aid of Krishna. He receives a gift of fruit for his help but gives it away. Krishna then enters the room of a wealthy merchant and his wife at night and ties the man's beard to his wife's hair. These exploits lead to a large crowd complaining of Krishna's antics to his foster parents.

Stars: Neelkanth and Mandakini Phalke as Krishna
Director: Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (Sant Tukaram (1921), Setu Bandhan (2921)
Writer: Dhundiraj Govind Phalke
Production Co: Hindustan Cinema Film Company
Run time: 47 minutes

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