Google on Monday honoured iconic director Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913, with a doodle on the occasion of his 148th birth anniversary. Phalke was popularly known as Dadasaheb.
Born in Trimbak in present-day Maharashtra, Phalke was the son of a scholar. He developed an interest in the arts, and studied diverse subjects such as photography, lithography, architecture, engineering and magic.
He worked as a painter, draftsman, theatrical set designer and lithographer at different points of his career. He once chanced upon Alice Guy’s silent film The Life of Christ, which was released in 1910. Phalke, who was also deeply influenced by the works of painter Raja Ravi Varma, decided to bring stories from Indian culture to the silver screen. He travelled to London to learn film-making from Cecil Hepworth, one of the founders of the British film industry.
Raja Harishchandra, which earned Phalke the title “father of Indian cinema”, went on to become a huge success. He followed it up with a dozen more movies. In 1969, the government instituted the Dadasaheb Phalke award, which recognises people who have made lifetime contributions to Indian cinema.
Artist Aleesha Nandhra designed the doodle, which shows a young Phalke going about directing the first few classics of Indian cinema.