Dadasaheb Phalke's debut work, "Raja Harishchandra", is recognized as India's first ever full-length feature film. He went on to make more memorable movies like "Mohini Bhasmasur", "Satyavan Savitri" and "Kaliya Mardan".
Dadasaheb Govind Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 in Trymbakeshwar in Maharashtra, 30 km from Nashik. His father was an accomplished scholar. Dadasaheb Phalke went on to study in the JJ School of Art in Mumbai in 1885. He then studied sculpture, engineering, drawing, painting and photography from Kala Bhavan in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara.
He then started his career as a photographer in Godhra, but he stopped after losing his first wife and child in an outbreak of the bubonic plague. He briefly worked with the Archaeological Survey of India before he turned to the business of printing. He worked with painter Raja Ravi Varma before starting his own printing press.
In 1969, the government of India honoured the legendary filmmaker by instituting the Dadasaheb Phalke award, which is one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema and the highest official recognition for film personalities in India. The award is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony. Actress Devika Rani was the first recipient of this award and other noted personalities include Raj Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Yash Chopra, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal. Vinod Khanna, who became only the second person to be posthumously presented the award, is the most recent recipient of the award this year.
Dadasaheb Phalke had a career that spanned 19 years and it was only with the introduction of sound film that he hung up his boots in 1937 after releasing his last work "Gangavataran". He died in Nashik on 16 February 1944.