Early Indian Cinema

Hello everyone, Shabbal here again. In this entry I want to talk about Indian cinema. Film is a big passion of mine, I dabbled with filming and directing in my youth following on in my uncles footsteps. It is something that I have since held very dear to my heart and I am constantly missioning to highlight, celebrate and progress Indian Cinema. I thought that first of all it would be good to write an overview of early Indian Cinema.

Many people don’t realise that Indian Cinema dates back to silent movies and the 1900’s. Unfortunately evidence for these films has been completely lost. Hiralal Sen is said to be one of the first people in India to dabble in filmmaking but all of his work was lost in a house fire. Film then came to Mumbai in 1896 when the Lumiere brothers screened their short films at the affluent Watson hotel – to a mostly British audience. A local photographer called Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar who was at the screening, immediately brought himself a camera from England and shot his first film, the first by an Indian filmmaker. He carried on producing his own films as well as importing movies from overseas, well establishing himself within the Indian Cinematic arts scene. Sen also continued within this profession and received rave reviews from critics on the films he aired.

So although we have no actual footage from this period it is clear that filmmaking and film watching was really beginning to take off - the stepping stone for the progression of Indian cinema. So, after watching an imported film on the story of the bible, stage magician and photographer Dadasaheb Phalke realised India’s first official film. It is still considered today as being the foundation of the Indian film industry and stands as a celebration of Indian thought, ideas and culture.