5 Firsts Of Indian Cinema

It’s been a hundred years of Indian screen time, and we’ve come a long way

By Abhishek Raghunath
Published: May 8, 2012
BEGINNINGS A still from Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra
Image: Wikimedia Commons
BEGINNINGS A still from Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra

First Full Length Film
Film: Raja Harishchandra
Year of release: 1913
It was a sign of things to come that this film—produced and directed by Dadasaheb Phalke—was a huge success. The film was first shown on May 3, 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema, Girgaon, where crowds thronged the roads outside the hall.

First Film To Face A Censorship Controversy
Bhakta Vidur
Year of release: 1921
This film directed by Kanjibhai Rathod came in the wake of the Rowlatt Act which put restrictions on Indian imports. This mythological allegory alluded directly to political issues of the day and was banned in Madras and Karachi.

First Lip-lock In Indian Cinema
Marthanda Varma
Year of release: 1933
AVP Menon and Padmini shared a kiss in this Malayalam silent classic. The first Hindi film kiss was in Karma (1933) between Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai. The Malayalam film beat Karma by a whisker.

First International Award
Neecha Nagar
Year of release: 1946
Chetan Anand’s film won the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at Cannes. It was based on a Hindi story, Neecha Nagar, written by Hayatulla Ansari, which in turn was inspired by Russian writer Maxim Gorky’s Lower Depths.

First Indian Colour Film
Kisan Kanya
Year of release: 1937
This was the first Indian colour film to be made entirely in India (the earlier Sairandhri (1933) was processed and printed in Germany).


(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 11 May, 2012 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com)

  • Prem Raj Kapoor

    The first Indian movie and the last one too, to be made fully in English was the Prithviraj Kapoor-Sadhona Bose film called The Court Dancer, or Raj Nartaki (1940). Everybody spoke in English. The first film to be released in 75mm was Kagaz Ke Phool.

    on Apr 8, 2013
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