On This Day … 18 May [2022]


1912 – The first Indian film, Shree Pundalik by Dadasaheb Torne, is released in Mumbai.

Cinema of Indian

Cinema of India consists of films produced in India, where more than 1,800 movies are produced annually. Major centres of film production in the country include Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Amritsar, Kochi, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack, and Guwahati. For a number of years the Indian film industry has ranked first in the world in terms of annual film output. In terms of box office it ranked third in 2019, with total gross of around US$2.7 billion.

Indian cinema is composed of various language film industries. In 2019, the Hindi film industry represented 44% of box office revenue, followed by the Tamil and the Telugu film industries, each representing 13%. Other prominent languages in the Indian film industry include Malayalam and Kannada, representing 5% each, as well as Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Bhojpuri. As of 2020, the combined revenue of all other language film industries has surpassed that of the Hindi film industry, and in 2021, Telugu cinema became the largest film industry of India in terms of box-office.

Indian cinema is a global enterprise and the films have wide viewership and fanbase throughout South Asia as well as over 90 countries. Films like Bahubali: The Beginning have been dubbed in many languages, thus starting a Pan-India films movement. Millions of Indians overseas watch Indian films, accounting for 12% of revenue.

Major Indian enterprises in the film industry include Modern Theatres, AVM Productions, Sun Pictures, AGS Entertainment, Geetha Arts, Zee, Mythri Movie Makers, UTV, Suresh Productions, Eros International, Aascar Films, Hombale Films, and Yash Raj Films.

Shree Pundalik

Shree Pundalik, which was released on 18 May 1912 at the Coronation Cinematograph, Girgaum, Mumbai, is sometimes considered the first feature-length Indian film by a minority. It was a silent film without dialogue.

The government of India and most scholarly sources consider Raja Harishchandra (released on 03 May 1913) to be the first Indian feature film, and detractors argue Pundalik was only a photographic recording of a popular play. It was produced and directed by Dadasaheb Torne.

Dadasaheb Torne

Ramchandra Gopal Torne (Marathi: रामचंद्र गोपाळ तोरणे) (13 April 1890 to 19 January 1960), also known as Dadasaheb Torne was an Indian director and producer, best known for making the first feature film in India, Shree Pundalik.

This historic record is well established by an advertisement in The Times of India published on 25 May 1912. Several leading reference books on cinema including The Guinness Book of Movie Facts & Feats, A Pictorial History of Indian Cinema and Marathi Cinema : In Restrospect amply substantiate this milestone achievement of the pioneer Indian feature-filmmaker.

He is considered the “Father of Indian cinema.”

Although Torne made his first film, Shree pundalik (पुंडलिक, 1912) just under a year before Dhundiraj Govind “Dadasaheb” Phalke made his, it is the latter who is regarded as the father of Indian cinema. The distinction may lie with the fact that, unlike Phalke, Torne sent his film overseas for processing. Moreover, Torne’s Pundalik was 1,500′ (c. 22 minutes) long, about 1,200′ shorter than Phalke’s Raja Harischandra, which ran for about 40 minutes.

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