Google Marks Dadasaheb Phalke’s Birth Anniversary With a Doodle

Google celebrates the 148th birth anniversary of the Father of Indian Cinema.

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Google, on Monday, 30 April, celebrated iconic Indian filmmaker Dadasaheb Phalke’s 148th birth anniversary with a doodle. Fondly known as the Father of Indian Cinema, Phalke directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra.

The doodle, designed by artist Aleesha Nandhra, pictures a young Dadasaheb in action with a few scenes from his movies.

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, aka Dadasaheb, was born in Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik, in Maharashtra, on 30 April 1870. From a young age, he showed keen inclination towards the arts. Owing to this, he first joined Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai and later Kala Bhavan at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, where he studied photography, architecture, lithography, and engineering. He even pursued magic as an avocation. Over the next few years he worked as a photographer, draftsman for the Archaeological Survey of India, lithographer, and owned and ran a printing press.


Phalke was introduced to cinema by chance. In 1910, he watched Alice Guy’s silent film The Life of Christ and was enamoured by the new form of storytelling. He decided to bring the craft of cinema to India. He travelled to London and learnt filmmaking from Cecil Hepworth, one of British cinema’s founding fathers.

Phalke, after having watched ‘The Life of Christ, decided to adapt Indian mythological stories for the silver screen.

He wrote, produced, and directed Raja Harishchandra, a silent film on one of India’s most pious kings, according to mythology. Only one print of the film was made, which was showcased on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinematograph. The film was a commercial success, which motivated Phalke to produce more cinema.

Google celebrates the 148th birth anniversary of the Father of Indian Cinema.
A still from ‘Raja Harishchandra’, India’s first full-length feature film.
(Photo: PTI)
Despite facing several obstacles like World War I, displeasure of the British, financial insecurities, among others, Phalke kept striving and made close to 130 films, which included full-length features and short films. His noteworthy films include Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918), Kaliya Mardan (1919) andSetu Bandhan (1932).

He established India’s film industry, which has evolved with time and stands as we know it today.

Phalke passed away on 16 February 1944.

In 1969, the Indian government constituted the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which recognises “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema”. The award is considered to be the highest honour in cinema in India.

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