Indian Empire. In 1898, two Italians,
of Nelson, Noah’s Ark and Call on the London Fire Brigade were
exhibited.
    The first exposing of celluloid in camera by an Indian and its
consequent screening took place in 1899, when Harishchandra
Bhatvadekar (Save Dada) shot two short films and exhibited them under
Edison’s projecting kinetoscope. Hiralal Sen and F.B. Thanawalla were
two other Indian pioneers engaged in the production of short films in
Calcutta and Bombay in 1900. Thanawalla made short films like Splendid
New Views of Bombay and Taboot Procession in 1900, while Sen made
his own short film Indian Life and Scenes in 1903.
Short narrative films continued to be imported and shown in India. Some
of these famous films were Life of Christ (1901), Aladdin and the
Wonderful Lamp (1902), Alibaba and 40 Thieves (1903) and Napolean
Bonaparte (1904). Around 1902, J.F. Madan and Abdullah Esoofally
launched their career with Bioscope shows of imported short films.
    The first cinema was established in 1900 in Madras by Major
Warwick. In 1907 Jamshedjee Madan opened the Elphinstone Picture
Palace in Calcutta. Madan’s early films were topicals of historic value like
Great Bengal Partition Movement and Procession (1905), Delhi Durbar
and Coronation (1911) and Cotton Fire at Bombay (1912). In South India,
Madras’s first permanent cinema, the Gaiety, was built by R. Venkaiah
and R.S. Prakash. In 1916 Universal Pictures set up Hollywood’s first
agency in India.
Silent Movies of India
India began making silent feature films in early 20th century. In 1912,
N.G. Chitre and R.G. Torney made the first silent feature film Pundalik,
which was half British in its make. The birth of India’s first fully
indigenous silent feature film took place on May 3, 1913, when Bhundiraj
Govind Phalke, more popularly known as Dada Saheb Phalke, produced
Raja Harishchandra. The film had titles in Hindi and English and was
released at the Coronation Cinema, Bombay. Phalke followed with other
feature films like Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914) and
Lanka Dahan (1917), the last one being India’s first big box-office hit.
Two new film companies, the Kohinoor Film Co. and Phalke’s Hindustan
Cinema Films Co. were established     in 1918.