Dada Saheb Phalke award is considered the most prestigious award in Indian cinema and is awarded by the Government of India itself. The award is given to recognise and honour the contribution made by individuals towards the development of Indian cinema.
On March 4, 2016, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting announced that veteran Actor Manoj Kumar has been selected for the Dada Saheb Phalke award for the year 2015 for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.
- Popularly known as Dadsaheb Phalke, the legend’s real name is Dhundiraj Govind Phalke.
- While pursuing his dreams at Sir J.J. School of Art, Bombay in 1885, he acquired a variety of interests and even became adept at magic. He also experimented with a variety of special effects. His usage of mythological themes and trick photography delighted his audience. He also met the German magician Carl Hertz, one of the 40 magicians employed by the Lumiere Brothers.
- A life-turning moment for Phalke was when he watched the silent film, ‘The Life of Christ’ by Ferdinand Zecca and envisioned Indian Gods on the screen, finally making his first short film was ‘Growth of a Pea Plant’ in 1910.
- While Dadasaheb was making his first movie, he put out advertisements seeking handsome actors for the lead role. Surprisingly, these advertisements brought so much amateur and inadequate talent, that Dadasaheb Phalke was forced to add a line saying, “ugly faces need not apply.”
- Dadasaheb’s entire family took part in the making of Raja Harishchandra. His wife handled the costumes of the actors, the posters and production of the film and provided the whole crew with food and water. His son too played a major role in Harishchandra’s son in the film.
- A well-known early story is that Phalke’s immersion in intense viewing and experimentation led to ill health and temporary blindness. There is a metaphorical aspect to the loss and recovery of sight in a man who declared that he would bring images of revered Indian deities to the screen, just as Christ’s image had been presented in the West.
- He went to Germany to get introduced to new and upcoming technologies. There he bought his first movie camera, but nobody knows what happened to it afterwards.
- His last silent movie Setubandhan was released in 1932 and later released with dubbing. His career was capsized by the introduction of sound in films. During 1936-38, he produced his last film Gangavataran before retiring to Nashik, where he died on 16 February 1944.
The 63rd National Films Award ceremony is slated to be held on May 3, 2016. Manoj Kumar will be the 47threcipient of the award in 2016. He was unanimously chosen by a select committee of eminent personalities from the film industry, who recommended his name to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.