A HISTORY BEFORE THE HISTORY OF INDIAN CINEMA

VINAYA WALAVALKAR-MANTRI

Some people understand very well that it takes a little rain to make the flowers grow. When things get a little rough in life, these are the people who will remind you that bad times do not last. In fact, they know that challenges are necessary to seize the best opportunities. You don’t get rainbows unless you also have rain.
He too liked rains. In his childhood that was spent in a small village named Sukalwad in Konkan, he enjoyed every drop of rain. His mind separated the seven colours from the rainbow to paint imaginary pictures of his foresight, dreams, aspirations, ambitions, thoughts, zeal and adventure. The young man who migrated from Konkan to Mumbai in search of a new horizon was the pioneer of Indian cinema, Ramchandra Gopal alias Dadasaheb Torne. Unfortunately, this name did not find its rightful place in the history if Indian cinema. Dadasaheb Torne, who had a flood of accolades for his various achievements in the film industry, lost his life’s work in real floods that occurred on July 12, 1961, when the swollen waters of Mutha River destroyed all the valuable negatives, photographs, documents after bursting from Panshet dam near Pune.
The forgotten father of Indian Cinema Ramchandra Gopal alias Dadasaheb Torne made the first ever Indian film ‘Pundalik’ which was screened at the Coronation Cinematograph in Mumbai on May 18, 1912. That was one year prior to Dhundiraj Govind alias Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’ which was released at the same venue on May 3, 1913.
Born on April 13, 1890, at Sukalwad in Malvan taluka of (undivided) Ratnagiri district (now Sindhudurg district) Dadasaheb Torne lost his father when he was three years old. His mother Radhabai brought him up. Due to financial difficulties he could not get higher education.
After being involved in the distribution of full-length (30-40 minute long) English films in India, he hit upon the idea of film making, and founded his own studio ‘Saraswati Cinetone’ (1931) in Pune. Under Saraswati’s banner he produced memorable movies like ‘Shyamsundar’, ‘Aut Ghatkecha Raja’, ‘Bhakt Pralhad’, ‘Chhatrapati Sambhaji’, ‘Thaksen Rajputra’, ‘Savitri’, ‘Raja Gopichand’, ‘Bhagva Jhenda’, ‘Majhi Ladki’, ‘Devyani’.
‘Shyamsundar’ was the first ever Indian movie to celebrate silver jubilee. Dadasaheb Torne introduced the first ever double role in ‘Aut Ghatkecha Raja’. He was equally proficient in editing and sound recording. He successfully experimented trick scenes in ‘Bhakt Pralhad’ and ‘Savitri’ in the decade of 1930-1940 when the film technique was not advanced. He organised first ever premiere show of Sinhagad (1923) which was attended by G.K. Gokhale, famous social and political leader of that period.
He gave first break to artistes like Rose, Shahu Modak, Dada Salvi, Jayashri (Shantaram), Dinkar Kamanna (Dhere), Ratnamala (Kamal Desai).
Many famous music directors of the earlier years, such as Annasaheb Mainkar, Sureshbabu Mane, C. Balaji and Vinayakbuwa Patwardhan were introduced by Torne.
Dadasaheb Torne also worked as a manager at Maharashtra Film Company, Kolhapur from 1920 to 1924, and worked as a general manager at Laxmi Cinetone, Royal Art Company, Imperial Film Company and Sagar Movietone from 1924 to 1921.
Dadasaheb Torne breathed his last on January 19, 1960 in Pune.
Movies produced: ‘Pundlik’ (1912), ‘Sati ka Shaap’ (1923), ‘Prithvivallabh’ (1924), ‘Neera’ (1926), ‘Sindbad Khalasi’ (1930).
Movies produced under the banner of ‘Saraswati Cinetone’: ‘Shyamsundar’ (1932), ‘Aut Ghatkecha Raja’ (1933), ‘Bhakt Pralhad‘ (1933), ‘Chhatrapati Sambhaji’ (1934), ‘Thaksen Rajputra (1934), ‘Krishnashishtai’ (1935), ’Savitri’ (1936), ‘Raja Gopichand’ (1938), ‘Sach Hai’ (Hindi-1939), ‘Bhagva Jhenda’ (1939), ‘Majhi Ladki’ (1939), ‘Devyani’ (1940), ‘Narad Naradi’ (1941), ‘Navardev’ (1941), ‘Awaz’ (Hindi-1942).

July 28th, 2017

Posted In: entertainment

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