Raja Harishchandra (1913)

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Raja Harishchandra is a 1913 Indian silent film, directed and produced by Indian icon Dadasaheb Phalke, and is the first full-length Indian feature film.The film was based on the legend of Raja Harishchandra, recounted in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Although a silent film with intertitles in English and Hindi, its cast and staff was Marathi and it is therefore, often regarded as the first Marathi film as well.

The film marked a historic benchmark in the film industry in India. Only one print of the film was made and shown at the Coronation Cinematograph. It was a commercial success and paved the way for more such films.

The film opens with a scene of a tableaux patterned on the painting by Raja Ravi Varma, of Raja Harishchandra and his wife with their son. The film revolves around the noble and righteous king, Harishchandra, who first sacrifices his kingdom, followed by his wife and eventually his children to honour his promise to the sage Vishwamitra. Though, in the end, pleased by his high morals, the Gods restore his former glory, and further bestow him with divine blessings.

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