Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar

Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar – A Pioneer, Though No Recognition – The First Indian Who Made A Film

Everybody believes that Indian film production initiated in 1913 when Raja Harischandra was released which was made by Dadasaheb Phalke. However, you will be surprised to know that Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar was the first Indian to make a movie or we can say a motion picture in India in 1899.

About Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar

Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar also known as H.S. Bhatavdekar, affectionately called as Save Dada was born in Mumbai on 15th March 1868. His family lived in Mumbai and was Maharashtrin Karhade Brahmins. He was known as India’s first Filmmaker and Exhibitor and was died on 20th February 1958. He initiated his career professionally as a portrait photographer and also deals with cameras as well as film equipment.

Filmmaking career of Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar

It was in 1899 when Lumiere Brothers showed the first cinema at Watson Hotel, Mumbai to the British audience. Among all Save Dada was one of the viewers and was much impressed with the cinema. After that, he decided to make movies in India and instantly ordered cine cinema from the UK.  Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar made is the foremost movie on 7th July 1896 which was titled ‘The Wrestlers’ and which was marked as the first movie made by an Indian filmmaker.

In that movie, he filmed a wrestling match in Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens, and the film was sent to the UK for the processing and then sent back to India. He also bought a projector during this time and screened foreign-made movies. Later on, Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar started making movies on the day to day lives in Mumbai city, and side by side shot many events. Then in 1902, he shot next movie named as ‘Sr. Wrangler Mr. R.P. Paranjpye’. In this film he showed the return of mathematics scholar as well as Minister of education in Bombay presidency from Cambridge, England, it was all about his landing in India by ship.

Again in 1903, he made a short documentary titled as ‘Delhi Durbar.’ In this Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar showed   Lord and Lady Curzon on an elephant, at the time of coordination of King Edward VII in Kolkata. Following this movie, he made Coronation Darbar in Delhi which displays the coronation of King George V as the monarch of India. Bhatavdekar was the only person who bought Gaiety Theatre in Mumbai and showed the movies. In the span of 19 years, Save Dada made over 120 short movies along with full-length films and established numerous social theories.

Sadly no recognition is given to Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar

However, Save Dada was the first Indian filmmaker but had been not given credit or any recognition regarding it. The film made by him came in 1899 and movie by Dada Saheb Phalke in 1913, i.e., 13 years later. Films made by Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar were based entirely on reality or documentaries. Save Dada will forever be recognized as the leader, pioneer as well as the foremost Filmmaker of India.

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