1912 - THE MAKING OF RAJA HARISCHANDRA

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1912 - THE MAKING OF RAJA HARISCHANDRA


Kashi is staged in Trymbakeshwar.

The whole unit lives there like a family. Phalke’s wife Saraswati looks after them.

Shooting by day and developing by night, the work progresses. PHOTOGRAPHY AND DIRECTION

It is well known that every illusion that is seen on the screen takes place before the camera or is recreated for it. Mountains, rivers, oceans, houses, human beings, animals, birds - everything on the screen is real. This is the magic of the filmmaker.

A film must have good photography.

The moon and the stars will not shine brightly if the sky is cloudy and foggy.

How would the audience react if the inauspicious maroon color of a widow’s sari were seen on the screen as a ‘Chandrakala’, a gorgeous black sari with silver print?

If a Subhadra or a Shakuntala comes before the camera chewing a betel leaf, how would it appear if her lips appeared black like those of a chain smoker?

The rouge applied by actors will look black, creating the impression of hollow cheeks.

The red and gold embroidered shawl will appear like a rough black rug because red as well as gold photograph as black for the screen.

The scarlet blanket of a mendicant will appear blackish, and a gold embroidered violet will be white.

If a scene is taken at noon, the beautiful lady will appear to have a moustache due to the shadow under her nose.

Even her fair legs will appear dark like those of a Bhila woman, due to the shadow of the sari.

A snub nose will appear all the more snubbish if the light comes from the front.

An oval face looks more oval if the light comes from the sides.

Even healthy and graceful hands look thin if there is too much contrast of light and shade.

We who are known for our dark complexions have to do our make-up even more carefully.


The outdoor scenes are shot at a village on the Pune railway line.

The villagers mistake the actors’ swords for the real thing.

Requiring a dancer for one sequence, Phalke trains and hires a dancing girl.

But her patron arrives and forcefully takes the girl away.

Saraswatibai, shy of appearing on the screen, refuses to play the Nati.

‘Raja Harischandra’ is completed.

21 April 1913, 6. 45 p.m.

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