This Day in History (1-Jun-1929) –’Prabhat Film Company’ founded at Kolhapur

Baburao Painter’s students, V Shantaram, Dhaybar, Damle and Fattelal moved out of the Maharashtra Film Company and formed their own Prabhat Film Company on 1st June 1929 in Kolhapur. Their first production, Ayodhyecha Raja went on to become a huge success. It was a first Marathi film. They also remade the silent film Sairandhri into India’s first colour film. Subsequently Prabhat shifted to Pune. Here, they built the best and the most well equipped studio in Asia. In 1934, the talkie Amrut Manthan was produced here. This had the first ever close-up shot in Indian cinema. Fattelal drew a sketch of a lady blowing a trumpet in the early hours of the morning when the sun’s rays were just breaking out. This picture later became the famous logo and stamp of Prabhat Films.

Balgandharva enactment of the role of Saint Eknath in the movie Dharmatma was his debut on the silver screen. Next, in 1936, came the movie, Sant Tukaram which became the first ever Marathi movie to be screened at the International Venice Film Festival and was rated as one of the best three movies that year which celebrated its golden jubilee. Later, Prabhat produced beautiful films like Kunku, Gopalkrishna, Mazaa Mulgaa, Manoos and Shejari .

The sensitive V Shantaram was the first to leave Prabhat owing to some partnership issues. On 5th July 1945, Vishnupant Damle passed away. The success of the film Ramshastri too could not save Prabhat, which was on the verge of collapse. In 1952, the Prabhat Film Company finally closed down. The Government of India bought the studio in 1960 and established the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

Many artists and technicians became well known due to Prabhat Films. Among these are various scriptwriters, musicians and directors like Vishram Bedekar, Keshavrao Bhole, Master Krishnarao, Vasant Desai, Raja Nene, Datta Dharmadhikari, Anant Mane; actors and technicians like Shanta Hublikar, Hansa Wadkar, Jayashri Gadkar, Shanta Apte, Baby Shakuntala, Dev Anand, Shahu Modak, Anant Marathe, Ram Marathe and Gajanan Jahagirdar.



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