Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke (30 April 1870 – 16 February 1944) was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, and is regarded as the Father of Indian Cinema.
The changing point in Phalke’s life was when he first time saw the silent film “The Life of Christ”. The film made such a great impact on his mind that he began to think if such films could be ever made with Indian themes. After raising some money and experimenting with a few short films, he went to London in February 1912 to learn the art and craft of film-making. Cecil Hepworth of Walton Studios trained him in the craft of film-making. Phalke bought a Willamson camera and returned India and set up Phalke Films in Bombay (Mumbai). These efforts gave birth to India’s first indigenous full-length feature cinema named “Raja Harishchandra” in 1912. It was first shown publicly on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema,effectively marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.
Dadasaheb Phalke made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career spanning 19 years, till 1937.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was instituted in his honor by the Government of India in 1969. The award is one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema and is the highest official recognition for film personalities in the country. Devika Rani Chaudhuri Roerich was the first recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969.