Dadasaheb Phalke is considered the ‘Father of Indian Cinema’ thanks to his 1913 silent film Raja Harishchandra. While the pioneer of Indian Cinemas is celebrated – and even has a prestigious award named after him, do you know about the ‘Mother Of Indian Cinema’? Well, if you don’t let us tell you about her – Saraswatibai Phalke.
In a video shared on Instagram, an Instagrammer got candid about the film that established Indian Cinema – Raja Harishchandra. In the short video, he talks about Dadasaheb making the film – with an only male cast, and how his wife Saraswatibai played a pivotal part in seeing it coming to light. Right from its pre-production to helping on the edit table and being a hands-on member of the crew – below is all she did for it.
In the video shared on the photo-sharing app recently, Instagrammer Raunak Ramteke shared an almost 4-minute long video of Raja Harishchandra and its maker Dadasaheb Phalke. While he started the clip by talking about ‘The Father Of Indian Cinema,’ he then went on to talk about Saraswatibai Phalke’s contribution to it.
The Instagrammer even captioned the video, “India’s first film Editor, Technician, Financer and much more – Saraswatibai Phalke’s contribution in creating India’s first official feature film and thus kickstarting the Indian film industry should never be forgotten. Salute to this great woman! ✨ ❤️ 🎬 📽
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Before talking about her contribution to Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, he advised all to read up about the film or watch the 2009 Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory. He then states right from financing the movie and helping in shooting the film to cooking for the crew & crew and editing &developing reels) – she played a part in all.
Elaborating further he said that around the time Dadasaheb Phalke was making Raja Harishchandra acting in films and theatres were considered a low job. While society looked down on him for aspiring to make films, Saraswatibai Phalke stood by his side. Not only that, she would reportedly even sell off items from the house and her jewellery to meet the cost of the films.
Adding that at that time only Dadasaheb Phalke knew all the workings of making a film, Saraswati stepped in to assist by learning the craft and necessary skills for individual jobs. This included her learning how to develop films aka edit them and deliver the final product. He states that she learned these technical things so as to reduce the work pressure on her husband.
Her contributions to the films also included her making food for the team daily as well as standing with a white cloth for hours to help in getting the lighting proper. Interestingly, at a time when women weren’t part of an industry that was looked down on, Saraswatibai Phalke was reportedly ready to essay the part of Nati in Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra. However the role was later played by a male actor – Padurang Gadhadhar Sane, but she was in charge of the workshops that got them to ace the mannerism of women.
We are proud of her and all these accomplishments during a time when women weren’t recognized for any things.
Saraswatibai Phalke was indeed the ‘Mother Of Indian Cinema’