KIFF features biopic on Hiralal Sen which 'explores commercial aspects'
However, a fire that broke out at a studio destroyed almost all traces of his work.
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A biopic on Hiralal Sen, considered as one of the pioneers in Indian cinema, was screened at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival on Monday evening with the filmmaker explaining the auteur's indelible contributions to Indian cinema. Arun Roy, who directed the biopic after a three-year-long research, told a press meet on Monday that Sen was the first to have shown how to make films "in a planned way, exploring commercial aspects."
"During 1903-04, Sen had made ad films and documentaries before venturing into a full-length feature film 'Alibaba'," he said. However, a fire that broke out at a studio destroyed almost all traces of his work. Later's Dhundiraj Govind Phalke's 1913 film 'Raja Harishchandra' was documented as the first full-length feature film in Indian cinema. "We have tried to highlight that aspect in our film to turn the focus on a personality, whose contribution has been all but forgotten," Roy said.
Roy recalled how Sen had started screening the documentaries and advertisements after buying a projector sometime after the Lumiere Brothers screened six motion films in 1896 and started screening documentaries and advertisements in Kolkata. Sen, who had also shot an advertisement of a hair oil product, made a documentary on the partition of the then undivided Bengal in 1905, he said. Roy, who had directed 'Egaro', a feature film based on the historical events leading to a football match between Mohun Bagan and East Yorkshire Regiment on July 29, 1911, said even if Sen might not be considered the father of Indian cinema, he can definitely be considered a pioneer in ad films and documentaries. Sen was born in 1866 and died in 1917.
Stating he had done extensive research on the film project in different libraries, Roy said he had to use VFX technology to recreate Kolkata of the 19th and an early 20th century in the film. The 2.5-hour-long film has also been selected in the Indian language competition section at the festival, along with 12 other movies.
(With inputs from agencies.)