Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatvadekar ('Save Dada')

Indian filmmaker

The Lumière Cinématographe arrived in India at Bombay on 7 July 1896, presented by Marius Sestier, and among the audience for these first shows was a photographer from Maharastra, H.S. Bhatvadekar (more commonly known as Save Dada). He had established a photographic studio in Bombay in 1880, and was so captivated by the Lumière show that he ordered a camera from Riley brothers of England, at a price of 21 guineas. Bhatvadekar's first film, taken in November 1899, was of a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Bombay and was sent back to London for processing. While awaiting the film's return Bhatvadekar secured a projector and began touring with imported films, adding the wrestling film on its return and then his second film, showing the training of circus monkeys. He filmed local scenes and an event which has gone down as the first Indian news film, the return to India from Cambridge in December 1901 of acclaimed mathematics student R.P. Paranjype, an event with considerable resonance for both Indian and British communities. Bhatvadekar went on to film the 1902/3 Delhi Durbar celebrating Edward VII's coronation, before turning to exhibition, becoming manager of the Gaiety Theatre in Bombay and ending up a wealthy man. He died while cracking a joke with a friend.

Luke McKernan