6.5/10
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Raja Harishchandra (1913)

The film opens with a Ravi Varma like tableau showing King Harishchandra, his wife Taramati and his young son. The king is teaching his son archery. They go on a hunt. The king enters an ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview:
D.D. Dabke ...
P.G. Sane ...
Bhalachandra D. Phalke ...
Rohitas
G.V. Sane ...
Vishwamitra
Dattatreya Kshirsagar
Dattatreya Telang
Ganpat G. Shinde
Vishnu Hari Aundhkar
Anna Salunke
Nath T. Telang
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Storyline

The film opens with a Ravi Varma like tableau showing King Harishchandra, his wife Taramati and his young son. The king is teaching his son archery. They go on a hunt. The king enters an area controlled by the Sage Vishwamitra. Three furies appear before the king caught in flames. The king tries to rescue them. These fairies try to seduce the king into renouncing his kingdom for his love of truth. The king endures much hardship including being banished from his kingdom before a god appears to reassure everyone that the whole narrative was merely a test of the king's integrity. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Short

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Release Date:

3 May 1913 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Harischandra  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was considered indecent for a woman to act in a movie. After searching high and low, Phalke finally cast a male, an actor known only as Salunke, to play the part of Rani Taramati. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Sex & Melodrama (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Pioneer Indian Feature.
24 July 2014 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Like most national industries, India has a candidate for the status of first feature film - this 1913 hit, seen as the departure point of Hindi cinema and it's mythological cycle. Both time and culture separate outside viewers from it. Even so, it is disappointing as a piece of film history.

While hunting, King Harishchandra disturbs the sage who is upset, so to atone our hero gives him his kingdom. It looks like this will precipitate a tragic outcome but Shiva intervenes.

Photographer turned filmmaker Phalke took two years to get his first film made. The technique is basic - jump cut disposal of the three women deities that the sage has summoned is as adventurous as it gets.

The mime in the style of regional theater is broad and having boys play the female parts is disturbing now.


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