On Indian cinema’s centenary, wax statue to honour Dadasaheb Phalke

Dadasaheb Phalke
MUMBAI: To mark the centenary of the Indian film industry falling May 3, 2012, a fitting tribute will be paid to its legendary founding father, Dhundiraj G. Phalke, famous as Dadasaheb Phalke, an official said here Friday.

A full-size wax statue of Dadasaheb Phalke will be created and installed at the Celebrity Wax Museum (CWM) in Lonavala, according to a trustee of the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed here late Thursday with CWM’s managing director Sunil Kandalloor, commissioning the statue, which will be ready by May 3, the trustee said here.

The occasion was to mark the 68th death anniversary of Dadasaheb Phalke yesterday at the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, in which a host of Bollywood personalities paid homage to the father of Indian cinema.

Born on April 30, 1870, at Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik, Dadasaheb Phalke made his debut with India’s first full-length silent movie "Raja Harishchandra" in 1913.

In a career spanning nearly 25 years, he made 95 movies and 26 short movies, including classics like "Mohini Bhasmasur" (1913), "Satyavan Savitri" (1914), "Lanka Dahan" (1917), "Shri Krishna Janma" (1918) and "Kaliya Mardan" (1919).

However, he became a victim to technological advancements in the art of filmmaking, especially with the introduction and advent of sound in movies, known as ‘talkies’ in those days.

Unable to cope with the severe competition posed by ‘talkies,’ Dadasaheb Phalke found few takers for his films, compelling him to make his last silent movie "Setubandhan" (1932) and releasing it with dubbed voices.

Later, in 1937, he attempted his last movie, "Gangavatara" before giving up and retiring to his home district. He died there Feb 16, 1944.

Acknowledging his immense contribution to the growth and development of the Indian film industry and cinema in general, the government instituted the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969.

Each year, the prestigious award is conferred on a most outstanding film personality who has dedicated his or her lifetime to cinema.

Some of the awardees include Devika Rani Chaudhuri-Roerich (1969), Prithviraj Kapoor, Naushad Ali, Sohrab Modi, Durga Khote, V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Bhupen Hazarika, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kumar, Sivaji Ganesan, Pradeep, B.R. Chopra, Yash Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asha Bhosle, Dev Anand, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Manna Dey and D. Rama Naidu.

Present to pay homage to him on his 68th death anniversary Thursday were filmmakers Anil Sharma, Gautam Bhatiya, Gopal Ram, Romy Behl, veteran actor Chandrashekhar, singer Udit Narayan and trustees Ramgopal Gupta, Neena Jalan and Prabhat Pandey.