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THE FATHER OF INDIAN CINEMA

Phalke's entry into films was entirely accidental, a momentary love affair which became the passion of a lifetime. Inspired by The Life Of Christ (1910), which he saw at the America India Picture Palace at Sandhurst Road in Bombay on December 25, 1910, Dadasaheb Phalke was fired with the ambition of making a story-film based on the life and doings of Lord Krishna. This was not the first time that he was seeing this new art form for he had made several forays into the tent cinemas before this. This time, however, the impact was different because fate had manoeuvred him into a curious position. He had just quarrelled with Seth Purushottam Vishram Mavji, his partner at the Laxmi Art Printing Works, and had quit the press, vowing never to return to the printing profession. His future, therefore, loomed ahead like a big question mark.

In a sense, Phalke was ideally suited for the newly-emerging medium of cinema. A graduate of the J.J. School of Arts in Bombay and the Kala Bhavan in Baroda, Phalke was a man of many talents: drawing, painting, photography, printing, engraving, lithography, moulding, architecture, music, magic and even stage acting. Born on April 30, 1870 at Trimbak, on the outskirts of Nasik, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was the son of Sanskrit scholar and college professor Dajishastri Phalke. He was educated at Trimbak, Bombay (where his father was working as Professor of Sanskrit at the Wilson College) and later Baroda where he got a good grounding in the Arts.

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