chapter  1
The mythological film
Pages 51

Phalke states: ‘I began the film industry in India in the year 1912’ (ICC III: 869). In fact, the first film was shown in India in 1896 and, although screenings of these and other films were successful, it was seventeen years before Phalke’s Raja Harischandra, the first entirely Indian film, was made.1

However, the intervening years saw Indians working with non-Indians to learn about film making and Phalke’s own training in other visual arts (see below) speaks volumes about the preparation that went into the formation of this cinema. Indian cinema’s roots lie in so many of the arts (theatre, music, painting, photography, literature, dance, story telling) as well as in other aspects of culture that were stimulated by the colonial encounter and the new media that developed during the nineteenth century.