Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The hype around Nitesh Tiwari's Ramayana, the cinematic adaptation of the Indian epic, is quite high. Reportedly, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Sai Pallavi, Sunny Deol, Arun Govil and Lara Dutta in prominent characters, the movie has already gone on floors. Excitement among fans is increasing with each passing day. Undeniably, the flick is among the highly-anticipated movies. While Prabhas-starrer Adipurush disheartened moviegoers, it is expected that Tiwari will not leave any stone unturned to ensure delivering a visual spectacle.

The entire team is working on the first instalment of the planned trilogy. Meanwhile, fans are eagerly waiting for an official announcement about the same. But, do you know which is the first Indian cinema based on Ramayana?

Cinematic Adaptation of Ramayana in the Indian Film Industry

Adipurush, Sita Kalyanam, Sampoorna Ramayana, Ram Rajya, Sri Rama Pattabhishekam, Bajrangbali, Mahabali Hanuman, Lava Kusa, Lav Kush, and Shri Ram Bhakt Hanuman are few of the Indian movies in different languages based on the Indian epic. On the other hand, movies like Kalyug Aur Ramayan, Raavanan, Raavan, Rudraksh, Ram Setu and the recent Tollywood blockbuster HanuMan are connected with Ramayana, in some way.

However, Lanka Dahan is the first Indian movie based on Ramayana. Here we bring some interesting facts about the first movie based on Ramayana.

Also Read | AI reimagines 'Ancient Ruins' of the Ramayana Era; Pushpak Viman, Jatayu and more, check pics

The Father of Indian Cinema-Dadasaheb Phalke

The Father of the Indian Film Industry, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke came up with India's first full-length feature film 'Raja Harishchandra'in 1913. Being a silent movie, it had English, Marathi and Hindi-language intertitles. After the commercial success of the movie, Phalke came up with Mohini Bhasmasur (1913), Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919). 

Still from first Indian feature movie Raja HarishchandraStill from first Indian feature movie Raja Harishchandra

Lanka Dahan- The First Indian Movie Based on Ramayana

Among his noted works, Lanka Dahan was Phalke's second feature film and the first Indian movie based on the Epic Ramayana.

The movie premiered at the Majestic Cinema in Mumbai (then Bombay). People queued up to grab a ticket and watch the movie. Whenever Lord Ram appeared on the screen, people used to take off their footwear. The audience was highly delighted by the trick photography and special effects that were showcased in the movie. 

According to film historian Amrit Gangar, the show started at seven in the morning and people fought for tickets at the counter. The audience tossed coins at the ticket counter as the film was mostly houseful. Later, coins from the ticket counters were collected in gunny bags and transported on Bullock carts to the producer's office.

Though it was a silent movie, as it was based on the Hindu epic, it was well received by the audience. It reportedly emerged as the first box office hit. 

The movie was written and directed by Dadasaheb Phalke. 

Anna Salunke played dual characters in the movie. He played Lord Ram as well as his wife Sita's role.

Earlier, Salunke played the role of Queen Taramati in Raja Harishchandra as women were prohibited from taking part in commercial performing arts in those days.

Salunke became the first Indian actor to play a double role. Ganpat G Shinde played the character of Lord Hanuman in the movie.

Still from Lanka DahanStill from Lanka Dahan

The Plot

The movie presents Lord Ram's exile part with His wife Sita and Brother Laxman. During his exile, he meets Lord Hanuman, who is a staunch devotee of Lord Ram.

After Devi Sita is kidnapped by Demon King Ravana, Lord Hanuman promises to find her. He flies the ocean and lands on an Island of Lanka, where he finds Sita. On his return journey, with fire on his tail, Lord Hanuman sets the whole city of Lanka on fire. After that, he extinguishes the fire on his tail in the Indian Ocean.

Also Read | From Animal to Ramayana, Ranbir Kapoor's transformation is impressive, new pics surface

Significance of Ramayana in the Life of Hindus

Indian epic Ramayana has remained an influential sacred text within Hinduism for centuries. The Ramayana talks about Lord Rama, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his quest to rescue his wife Devi Sita from the Demon King Ravana with the help of an army of monkeys and bears. The epic is seen as a moral guidance for Hindus and has had a profound impact on Hindu religion, philosophy and culture. Lord Rama as the ideal king is an epitome of Dharma and his life serves as a beacon of righteousness living, unwavering devotion and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

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