The 2009 Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, the debut film from veteran theatre director Paresh Mokashi ( and for which he has won a number of awards) was selected in September 2009 as India’s entry in the Foreign Language Film category for the 82nd Academy Awards. The film is slated for an India-wide release on January 22, 2010. Promotion for the film has already begun: the film’s website has been live for a while now, and there’s also a Facebook fan page for the film. Recently UTV Motion Pictures (the film’s distributor) sent out a different teaser trailer than the one found on the official site, one showing snippets of scenes from India’s first feature film, Raja Harishchandra(1913). Directed by D.G. (aka Dadasaheb) Phalke, (the father of Indian cinema), Raja Harishchandra was a silent film based on the legend of King Harishchandra (found in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata).
Mokashi’s film emphasizes the two years it took Phalke to make his film, following his falling out with his partner in their printing business, to his discovery of film (he apparently saw a screening of the early European film The Life of Christ in 1911, and it inspired him to bring Indian stories and images to the screen), to his struggles to make his own film – with the support of his family.
After making Raja Harishchandra, Phalke apparently refused offers to make films in London, believing that he needed to work in India in order to ensure the industry would flourish there. During the 1920s he made nearly a hundred films (both short and feature length), and although his death in 1944 went largely unnoticed, his legacy lives on today both in the lifetime contribution award given in his name, and, most especially, in India’s vibrant film industry.
And now, too, in Paresh Mokashi’s Harishchandra Factory, the first feature film made about the creator of India’s very first feature film.
Here is a look at that teaser!