Auguste and Louis Lumière

The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas (19 October 1862 -10 April 1954) and Louis Jean (5 October 1864– 6 June 1948) were among the earliest filmmakers in history.

The Lumière brothers were born in Besançon, France, in 1862 and 1864, and moved to Lyon in 1870, where both attended La Martiniere, the largest technical school in Lyon. Their father, Claude-Antoine Lumière (1840–1911), ran a photographic firm and both brothers worked for him: Louis as a physicist and Auguste as a manager. Louis had made some improvements to the still-photograph process, the most notable being the dry-plate process, which was a major step towards moving images.

It was not until their father retired in 1892 that the brothers began to create moving pictures. They patented a number of significant processes leading up to their film camera, most notably film perforations (originally implemented by Emile Reynaud) as a means of advancing the film through the camera and projector. The cinématographe itself was patented on 13 February 1895 and the first footage ever to be recorded using it was recorded on March 19, 1895. This first film shows workers leaving the Lumière factory.

The Lumières held their first private screening of projected motion pictures in 1895. Their first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 50 seconds.

tt is believed their first film was actually recorded that same year (1895) with Léon Bouly's cinématographe device, which was patented the previous year. The cinématographe — a three-in-one device that could record, develop, and project motion pictures — was further developed by the Lumières.


Dadasaheb Phalke

Dandiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke (30 April 1870 - 16 February 1944) was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter, known as the father of Indian cinema. Starting with his debut film, Raja Harishchandra 1913, now known as India's first full-length feature, he made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career span of 19 years, till 1937, including his most noted works: Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919).

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Trimbakeshwar, 30 km from Nasik, Maharashtra, India, where his father was an accomplished Sanskrit scholar.

He joined Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1885. After passing from J.J. School in 1890, Phalke went to the Kala Bhavan in Baroda, where he studied sculpture, engineering, drawing, painting and photography.

He began his career as a small town photographer in Godhra but had to leave business after the death of his first wife and child in an outbreak of the bubonic plague. He soon met the German magician Carl Hertz, one of the 40 magicians employed by the Lumiere Brothers. Soon after, he had the opportunity to work with the Archeological Survey of India as a draftsman. However, restless with his job and its constraints, he turned to the business of printing. He specialized in lithography and oleograph, and worked for painter Raja Ravi Varma. Phalke later started his own printing press, made his first trip abroad to Germany, to learn about the latest technology and machinery.

Following a dispute with his partners about the running of the press, he gave up printing and turned his attention to moving pictures, after watching a silent film, The Life of Christ and envisioning Indian gods on the screen. Phalke made his first film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1912; it was first shown publicly on 3 May 1913 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema,[6] effectively marking the beginning of the Indian film industry. Around one year before, Ramchandra Gopal (known as Dadasaheb Torne) had filmed a stage drama called Pundalik and shown it in the same theater. However, the credit for making the first Indian feature film is attributed to Dadasaheb Phalke.[7]

Once again, Phalke proved successful in his new art and proceeded to make several silent films, shorts, documentary feature, educational, comic, tapping all the potential of this new medium. Film, having proved its financial viability, soon attracted businessmen who favored money over aesthetics.

Phalke formed a film company, Hindustan Films in partnership with five businessmen from Mumbai, in the hope that by having the financial aspect of his profession handled by experts in the field, he would be free to pursue the creative aspect. He set up a model studio and trained technicians, actors but, very soon, he ran into insurmountable problems with his partners. In 1920, Phalke resigned from Hindustan Films, made his first announcement of retirement from cinema, and he wrote Rangbhoomi, an acclaimed play. Lacking his extremely imaginative genius, Hindustan Films ran into deep financial loss, and he was finally persuaded to return. However, Phalke felt constrained by the business and, after directing a few films for the company, he withdrew.

The times changed and Phalke fell victim to the emerging technology of sound film. Unable to cope with the talkies, the man who had fathered the Indian film industry became obsolete. His last silent movie Setubandhan was released in 1932 and later released with dubbing. During 1936-38, he produced his last film Gangavataran (1937), before retiring to Nashik, where he died on 16 February 1944.

J. C. Daniel

J. C. Daniel was the first film-maker from Kerala, India. He produced, directed, wrote, photographed, edited and acted in the first film made in Kerala, named Vigathakumaran meaning the Lost Child. He also established the first film studio in Kerala, named The Travancore National Pictures. It was near the present Public Service Commission office, Pattom, Trivandrum... He is considered as the father of Malayalam cinema. The Government of Kerala instituted the J. C. Daniel Award as a part of the Kerala State Film Awards, to honour lifetime achievements in Malayalam cinema.

Daniel was born on 19 April 1893 in Agasthishwaram, Nagercoil, Travancore. The place in now under the governance of the State of Tamilnadu. He finished his formal education from Maharaja's College, Trivandrum. He was interested in martial arts and was an expert in Kalarippayattu, the traditional martial art of Kerala. He published an English book titled Indian Art of Fencing and Sword Play in 1915, when he was 22.

Daniel was well aware of the scope of cinema as a public medium. He wished to popularise Kalarippayattu by harnessing the popular influence of cinema. At that time the common mass of Kerala were not even aware of cinema, hence the idea was quite a challenge. He took the challenge and left to Madras (now Chennai) to learn techniques of film-making and to acquire necessary equipments for the purpose. Madras was the budding centre of film production in South India and had the only permanent talkies in South India, named Gaiety which was established in 1912. However, he could not get what he wanted from Madras and was even denied permission to enter various studio premises in there. That didn't make him to give up. He travelled to Bombay (now Mumbai), the centre of Hindi cinema production. He asked the Studio Owners for entry claiming that he is a teacher from Kerala and wanted to teach his students about Cinema and got entry to the Studios there.He could gather enough knowledge and equipments for film production from Bombay and came back to Kerala to fulfil his dream.

In 1926, Daniel established the first film studio in Kerala named The Travancore National Pictures. He made money for the purpose by selling a piece of land in his name for Rs. 4 lakh. With all set, he started production works of the film of his dreams. He wrote the script and titled it Vigathakumaran. He directed and wielded the camera for the film, which was mute. He was also the pratogonist in the film. He also did most of the post production work including editing. The theme of the film was of social significance and was one of the early films in that genre. Most of the Indian films at that time were based on stories from the puranas and films with social themes were scarse .

Vigathakumaran was exhibited in Trivandrum at the Capitol Theatre on 7 November 1928.Despite being the first film made in Kerala and the social significance of the film, it faced wrath of certain orthodox groups in Kerala, due to the presence of a woman in the film. During the screening, stones were pelt on the screen, damaging it. The film did moderate business at the box office and the collections were way less than the expenditure.