Bhalchandra

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bhalchandra in phalke's journey[1]

Friday, June 28, 1907That day, Raja Ravi Verma dies.

Dada’s father also dies the same day.


Bhalchandra is born.

A full moon shines in the sky. Phalke walks around with his infant in his arms, under the incandescent light, helped by Chance, a lady called Nanny with a child in her arms.


‘In this period, his daily walk on the beach with our son Babaraya (Bhalchandra) was a regular affair.

‘Keeping four annas in his pocket, my husband would go for a walk and return late in the evening.'


In 1910, I happened to see the film ‘The Life of Christ’ at the America-India Picture Palace, Bombay. While the life of Christ was rolling fast before my physical eyes, I was mentally visualizing the gods Shri Krishna, Shri Ramachandra, their Gokul and Ayodhya. I was gripped by a strange spell.

I bought another ticket and saw the film again.

This time I felt my imagination taking shape on the screen. Can this really happen? Will we, the sons of India, ever be able to see Indian images on the screen?

‘One day, on their return, Babaraya clung to my hand and said, ‘Today we saw a wonderful thing! All the pictures on the screen were moving. There were training tigers, elephants, and a fat man!”

‘“What did you show him?” I asked.

‘“Cinema.”

‘“What is Cinema?’

‘“Come with me and see for yourself.” [2]in phalke's journey from kamal swaroop's phalke stories


In the filming of Setubandhan and, later, Gangavataran, Dadasaheb's son Babarai proved his merit. Dadasaheb felt certain that Babarai would carry forward his tradition. He had that mental satisfaction and wrote an article in Mouj praising Babarai's prowess. But fortune frowned. Dadasaheb did not have this pleasure for long. Death swooped on Babarai prematurely and the Phalke family was subjected to another fatal blow.

Excerpted from Bapu Watve’s Dada Saheb Phalke, published by the National Book Trust.


As Prabhat Film COmpany brought Dadasaheb's story Japani Pankha, we could make a copy of Setubandhan. It had a satisfactory audience response, which improve our financial circumstances. During the Second World Wat, a licence was essential for producing a movie. After Dadasaheb applied to the government in New Delhi, I met V.Shantaram, as he was the president of the IMPPA ( Indian Motion Pictures Producerss' Association). He told me, however that he could not do anything as the government implemented the rules very strictly Hearing this, I was more sorry than disappointed, because merchants of asafoetida, iron and shev gathya, whjo had nothing at all to do with the film industry were becoming producers of films, passing the government's strict tests.I wanted to get our application approved through an institution like the IMPPA. It was obvious that we had made the first claim. As, however, IMPPA did nothing, we sent the application direct but it was rejected by the government in clear terms. That too only two days before Dadasaheb's death. Earlier, on Dadasaheb's return from a tour of Iran, he had received enough publicity, but it was of no avail.

Excerpted from Bapu Watve’s Dada Saheb Phalke, published by the National Book Trust.

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