Down The Melody Lane

History of 100 Years of Indian Films & Music in a nut-shell


| 1896-1912 | 1931-'40 | 1941-'50 | 1951-'60 | 1961-'70 | 1971-'80 | 1981-'90 | 1991-'96 |


First Film of India

¤ On 2nd April, 1913, India's first film Raja Harishchandra was shown to some classified invities, in Olympia cinema hall.

¤ On 3rd May, 1913, Raja Harishchandra was released for public viewing in Coronation theatres.


Indian Films in London

In 1914, Dada Sahab Phalke took his 3 films, Raja Harishchandra, Bhasmasur Mohini and Satyawan Savitri, to London where these were appreciated for technical excellence.


1st Box Office Hit

¤ J F Madaan released his first story film Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra in Calcutta in 1917. The film was 7000 ft, long.

¤ Dada Sahab Phalke's first box office hit 'Lanka Dahan' came in 1917. The income from this film were carried in bullock carts.


Year of Developments

¤ Indian Cinematograph Act (1918) was enforced on British pattern

¤ In 1918, S N Pathankar released first ever serial film, Ram Banvaas, which was made in 4 parts.

¤ Kohinoor and Dada Sahab Phalke established Hindustan Cinema film Company in 1918.


Censor Board Established

¤ In 1920, Film Censor Board was established in Bombay / Calcutta and Madras. 

¤ In 1920, Ardeshir Irani established his first studio Star Film Company.

¤ In 1920, first film with international co-production, Nal Damayanti, was made.


More Developments

¤ In 1921, Dhiren Ganguly directed first comedy film called 'England Returned'.

¤ Kohinoor company's first film, Bhakt Vidur was released in 1921. The film was banned in Sind and Madras as the hero's dress up was a look like of Mahatma Gandhi's.

¤ V Shantaram acted for the first time in Surekha Haran, in 1921. V Pagnis played the heroine in the film.

¤ Dhiren Ganguly established Lotus film company in Hyderabad with assistance from Nizam in 1921.


Enterntainment Tax

Entertainment tax was intoduced for films in Calcutta.



Dhiren Ganguly's 'Razia Sultan' refuted the Nizam so much that he ordered DG to leave his territory within 24 hours.


Imperial Film Co.

¤ The Light of Asia was made with Indo-German co-operation in 1925. It was directed by Himanshu Rai, who was the main lead, Gautam Buddha.

¤ Bhalaji Pendharkar's 'Vande Mataram Ashram' was banned by the censor board.

¤ India's first female producer-director Fatima Begum released her first film 'Bulbul-E-Paristan' in 1925.

¤ Ardeshir Irani established his Imperial Film Company in 1925.


Art Studio Established

Indian Cinema Arts Studio was started in Calcutta in 1927, which later transformed in the famous New Thetres of Calcutta.


Prabhat Film Co.

¤ V Shantaram, Damle, Dhaibar, Phattelal and Kulkarni started Prabhat Film Company in Kolhapur. 

¤ A foreign talkie film 'Melody of Love' was released in India by J F Madaan, in 1929.

¤ Himanshu Rai married Devika Rani in 1929.


Sagar Film Co.

Chiman Lal Desai and Ambalal Patel started Sagar Film Company.

First Female Actress of India

First Female Actress

First Indian female actress Kamla Bai Gokhle acted in 3rd film of Dada Saheb Phalke: Bhasmasur Mohini (1914). Kamlabai was basically a stage artist and she use to act with her mother Durgabai, on stage. In those days acting by females on stages and films was considered very bad, therefore the part of heroine was played by the male artists.


Her husband died on stage while playing 'Raja Gopichand', but she was inspired by 'The show must go on' and dressed up like males and enacted her husband's part at the stage. Such was her courage. All her three sons are in the field of stage and films. Her grandson Vikram Gokhle was also a renowned actor. Dada Saheb Phalke presented her with 100 gms gold, 2000 rupess and four sarees, when she left films and moved to Nashik.

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