Filmmaker Dada Saheb Phalke, regarded as the father of Indian cinema, should be conferred the title of Bharat Ratna for his contribution to the film industry, his grandson Chandrashekhar Pusalkar has said.
Phalke’s 1913 silent film Raja Harishchandra is considered the first full-length Indian feature film. In his career of nearly two decades, Phalke helmed 95 feature-length films such as Mohini Bhasmasur, Satyavan Savitri and Kaliya Mardan.
During a session at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Pusalkar said it would be fitting if the cinema legend received the country’s highest civilian award. He also hoped that the film industry considered making a biopic on his illustrious career.
“The occasion is right as it is the 150th birth anniversary of my grandfather and a befitting recognition would come by conferring upon him the title of Bharat Ratna posthumously. Also, the film industry should seriously think about making a biopic on him.
“Celebrities will come and go but as long as cinema is there, Dada Saheb Phalke will be remembered,” Pusalkar said. The latest edition of the movie gala is paying homage to Phalke with screenings of his films at the festival.
Pusalkar said the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, awarded for lifetime contribution to cinema by the Government of India, has kept the filmmaker’s legacy alive.
“If the government had not taken such an initiative, my grandfather’s work or life would have been ended in two pages, but now people know and respect him for his immense contribution to Indian cinema,” he added.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was the recipient of 2018 Dadasaheb Phalke Award.