104 Years Of India’s First Feature Film, ‘Raja Harishchandra’


Mumbai: Indian film industry boasts of producing a finesse of films and bundle of talents which made it big in international platform too. The famed directors, actors and a complete crew delivered spectacular performances which proved their mettle since decades.

104 years ago, Raja Harishchandra carved the niche for Bollywood films by becoming the first ever full length feature film to get released. It was produced, directed and co-screen-written by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, whom we today respectfully call Dadasaheb Phalke.

He wrote the screen play, and created the sets for the film and started shooting. The film was Dada’s first feature film venture of full film length of 3700 ft (in four reels) about 50 minutes of running time, and it took seven months 21 days to complete the film. He spent his own personal savings for the film.

Raja Harishchandra belonged to the silent genre and was a mythological tale. It was about one king Raja Harishchamdra who sacrificed the royal kingdom to honour a vow made to a sage. However, he was restored with his former glory when Gods were pleased by his selflessness.

A startling fact about this movie was that it had an all-male cast as no woman was available for playing female leads. Even for the female roles, males had to deck up.

Only one print of the film was made and shown at the Coronation Cinematograph. It was a commercial success and established Dadshaheb Phalke as a leading filmmaker.