You may have heard of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s greatest honour in film. And you may also know that Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, the eponymous Dadasaheb, is widely considered the father of Indian cinema—his first production, Raja Harishchandra, was the country’s first full-length feature film, ushering in a new age. But what else?
After having taken to the arts at an early age Phalke went through a variety of hobbies and jobs over the years—from photographer to set-builder to printer (with a stint at the Archaeological Survey of India). It was only in his early 40s that the man saw his first film (The Life of Christ)—but that was just the spark he needed. Cinema became Phalke’s obsession, and he went to extreme lengths over the next few years to make a film of his own.