Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra
1912 - THE MAKING OF RAJA HARISCHANDRA[]
 from phalke's journey 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.
A charity show of ‘Raja Harischandra’ is being held for the Catholic Hospital at Olympia Theatre.
The guests of honor include Sir Balachandra Krishna Bhatwadekar, Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Sir Manmohandas Ramji, Jayant Madan, Vima Dayal and Judge Mr. Donald.
Everybody present knows that they are watching history being made.
Mandakini has been left at home with a high fever.
At the end of the show, a jam-packed house gives a standing ovation to the modest unpretentious pioneer of the Swadeshi film, DG Phalke.
Mr. Donald, judge of the Small Causes Court in Bombay, praises Phalke. ‘Europeans have hardly any chance to see such instructive plays and films on Hindu mythology. It is not possible to acquire this knowledge through books, as the Europeans do not know the Sanskrit language. Hence, the work of Mr. Phalke is invaluable to the Europeans. Apart from this, the film itself is very well made.’
Dr. Vimadlal says, ‘The film of the play “Harischandra” is especially instructive from the religious point of view.’
‘Raja Harischandra” receives fantastic publicity in the manufacturing papers in India. The reason why harishchandra faild to draw crowd in surat Waas that the famous wakaner theatre group was staging plays in surat ‘ourtown is commercial to the bone.every body here means business.look at what wakener peopleare doing?they charge two annas for six hours of entetaintment.this film of yours is too expensive to see.start charging two paisa per show . or make it a longer show.Phalke ignored the advice Seefifty thousand pictures in two annas .don’t miss your chance to see the wonderfull pictures which are two miles threeinch in size It worked 6th May 1913 - Mr. Phalke’s moving pictures - a Newsletter from Bombay - Kesari, Poona
To the Editor, Kesari
Cinematograph shows have become so numerous in our city of Bombay these days that people have almost given up visiting stage shows and the circus.
But most of the cinematographs were foreign and had foreign images in them. But Mr. Phalke has changed all that in making his film.
The images in his film are Indian and are drawn from the Puranas, and thus are familiar to all.
Mr. Phalke has made a complete film of 3,000 feet, in which he has shown the entire play ‘Harischandra’.
Such a play on film was presented by Mr. Phalke at the Olympia Theatre in Bombay on the 21st of April. All the movements and expressions of the characters on screen were so realistic that the spectators felt that those moving characters were also speaking.
They have come out so well that Harischandra and Taramati of the screen bring tears to the eyes of the spectators.
This would perhaps not happen if one saw them in the flesh and blood on the stage.
The scene of the forest, the fire, the river, the hangman’s house, the hen pecking around - all these are unrivalled and Mr. Phalke has displayed to the world his great skill in showing these on the screen.
No amount of praise for his skill would be adequate.
Saturday, 13th May, 1913 - Bombay Chronicle
An advertisement for ‘Raja Harischandra’:
‘An instructive subject from Hindu mythology, sure to appeal to our Hindu patrons.
‘The program continues throughout the week with four daily shows.
‘Double rates of admission.’
15th May 1913 - Bombay Chronicle
An advertisement for ‘Raja Harischandra’:
Since the art of the Cinematograph was first introduced, the above has been the first Indian film manufactured for the first time by M/s Phalke and Company, the only first manufacturers of cinema films in India.
17th May 1913 - Bombay Chronicle
An advertisement for ‘Raja Harischandra’:
A special opportunity offered for ladies and children.
With the object that the poor class of people should have an opportunity to see this marvelous film, we will give an extra show when women and children will be admitted at half rates.
Last night of ‘Raja Harischandra’ Sunday 18th May 1913. Look out for grand change of program from Monday.
Coronation Theatre advertisement
From 26th May, Itala’s tragic drama, ‘Father’
19th August 1913 - Kesari, Poona
Swadeshi Moving Pictures
Kesari: But what did you do about the practical knowledge that is so essential for the true mastery of any art?
Phalke: Since this knowledge could only be had abroad, I had necessarily to go to England. While purchasing the equipment there, I had a great deal of first-hand knowledge. The equipment dealers demonstrate to clients how to operate the machines.
Kesari: But apart from equipment, there would be many other things that would be required for the production of a perfect film, and these would be more important. How did you get training in those things?
Phalke: The manufacturing process is usually kept secret, but I happened to see all this, through the courtesy of a big film manufacturer near London.
Kesari: It is said that the owners of factories in foreign countries do not show them to foreigners. How far is it true?
Phalke: The charge is generally correct. If you are really a knowledgeable person, you are admired everywhere, and this was my experience too.
The Hepworth factory is immense, perhaps involving a capital of forty million rupees. All the eighteen workshops of the cinema are located on the premises.
The manager of the factory came personally to the railway station to receive me. Not only did he show me the entire factory, but he also arranged for me a special rehearsal demonstrating the shooting on the sets.
Kesari: How big really is this moving picture industry?
There may be about fifty thousand cinematograph machines showing films all over the world.
In London alone, there are five hundred theatres showing films.
But once the film is made, it is possible to have as many copies as desired, and since an exhibitor only needs a projector and a small electric generator, the film-showing companies are numerous.
Kesari: What is the standard speed of taking photographs?
Kesari: Generally, what are the dimensions of each picture?
Phalke: It is one inch long and three-quarters of an inch wide, about the size of a thumb.
The film ‘Harischandra’ is 3,700 feet long.
That means it contains about 40,000 different pictures.
When these pictures are shown one by one within an hour or so, the illusion of the story becomes convincing.
Kesari: Would you continue to make pictures in the future?
Kesari: On what subjects would you specially like to make films?
Phalke: On all subjects. old Sanskrit plays, and new Marathi plays, on manners and customs in different parts of India, on genuine Indian humor, on holy places and pilgrimages, on social functions as well as on scientific and educational subjects.