Director: Dhundiraj Govind Phalke
Duration: 00:20:36; Aspect Ratio: 1.318:1; Hue: 252.824; Saturation: 0.010; Lightness: 0.261; Volume: 0.039; Cuts per Minute: 12.858
Summary: Phalke's How Films Are Made appears to have been part-pedagogy and part self-exhibition, as it shows him with extravagant gestures directing his actors in his Raja Harishchandra, editing, scripting and thinking. The surviving footage has been incorporated in Satish Bahadur's documentary Dadasaheb Phalke: The First Indian Filmmaker, which is included here in its entirety.
This film is now a part of the film D.G. Phalke: the First indian Filmmaker, put together by Satish Bahadur for the 1965 FIAF Congress. Suresh Chabria writes: ‘Scripted and compiled by Professor Satish Bahadur in 1965 for the newly founded National Film Archive of India, the film gives an account of the career of Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, the founder of the Indian film industry. It was specially produced for the 1965 FIAF Congress which had sent out enquiries about recently discovered film pioneers in different countries. Because it was hastily made, a soundtrack could not be prepared; instead titles in English and French were used.
The film comments on the relation of Phalke’s work with the Indian popular arts of that time–Ravi Varma’s paintings and oleographs, Parsi theatre, folk theatre etc.–and the reasons for the success of the mythological genre with Indian audiences. Extracts from the newly discovered Phalke films are skillfully arranged and include the entire first reel of Raja Harishchandra and several remarkable shots from his last silent film Setu Bandhan (1932-33) which Phalke subsequently synchronised at the Imperial Studio and released in 1934. But the true highlight of the film is the extraordinary footage showing Phalke at work on the 1917 version of Raja Harishchandra. These shots are from the lost How Films are Made released in the same year in which Phalke attempted to explain the medium of cinema to his early audience’. From Suresh Chabria ed. Light of Asia: Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934, New Delhi: Niyogi Books/Pune: National Film Archive of India, 2013, pg 48.