Shree Pundalik (1912), the very first Indian movie, was released 102 years ago today, on the 18th of May, 1912.

Ram Chandra Gopal Torne (a.k.a. Dadasaheb Torne)
Though Shree Pundalik; a silent film directed by Ram Chandra Gopal Torne (a.k.a. Dadasaheb Torne); happens to be the very first Indian movie made, yet since the film negatives, of about 1,500 feet and about 22 minutes long, was sent to London for processing, most Indians argue that Shree Pundalik does not deserve the honour of being known as the first Indian film ever made. Added to that, the cameraman was an Englishman, named Johnson. Of course this was during India’s Freedom struggle against the British Raj, so it makes sense at the time. But today, it’s absurd to think like that.

Since Shree Pundalik, hasn’t been given it’s due recognition till date, it was only last year, on 3rd May 2013, that India celebrated it’s centenarian of Indian Cinema. 100 years since the icon Dadasaheb Phalke’s silent film, Raja Harishchandra (1913), which was released publicly on 3rd May 1913 (but actually premiered on 21st April 1913, to a selected audience, including famous personalities of Bombay, at the time). Even though there were a few other films released between Shree Pundalik and Raja Harishchandra.

Raja Harishchandra  (1913)

Raja Harishchandra (1913)

Raja Harishchandra, was also the first Marathi film ever, made with inter-titles in Hindi and English. The whole cast and crew were from Maharashtra, and no other Indian states and no Englishman or other foreigners worked on this movie. The movie was completely made in India itself. Thus, the 40 minute long, Raja Harishchandra was considered the very first Indian movie ever released in India.

But today Shree Pundalik (1912), and Dadasaheb Torne, both should be given their long due credit.

Even though I am yet to watch either of these films, no matter which is a better movie, to me Shree Pundalik will be the first Indian movie (Hindi Film) ever made, and Raja Harishchandra, the very first Marathi movie ever made, and the first all Indian movie ever made. I’d love to watch both these movies.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense