In India, the First motion picture was projected by Lumiere Brothers (Auguste and Louis Lumière) at Watson’s Hotel, Bombay in 1896.
They are known as earliest filmmakers in history. The first cinema ad appeared in the Times of India, Bombay, on July 7, 1896, with details of the “Living Photographic pictures in life-size reproductions by Messrs Lumiere Brothers”
It was July 7, 1896, when the Lumiere Brothers arranged a screening of six films at the Watson Hotel in Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and India witnessed the birth of cinema.
The French Cinematographers duo arrived in India after having proven their cinematic excellence in Paris and there was an element of excitement as well as apprehension in the minds of Indians.
However, the screening of the films at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai priced at INR 1 was reported as the ‘miracle of the century’ by The Times of India. The awe-inspiring response initiated the introduction of motion pictures in India; primarily in Calcutta and Madras.
With a diverse set of disciplines already prevalent in India, as cinema was primarily conceived as a visual art form, India looked like a country that was ahead of Europe and the Americas.
The essential elements that remained customary in Indian culture, such as painting, music along with the disciplines of natya (drama), nritya (pantomime) and nritta (pure dance) among others, eventually passed on to become the pillars of Indian cinema.
The first film ever to be shot by an Indian was called The Wrestlers made in 1899 by H.S Bhatavdekar depicting a wrestling match in Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens. This was also India’s first documentary film. The first film to be released in India was Sree Pundalik, a silent Marathi film by Dadasaheb Torne, on May 18, 1912. Courtesy the film, Bhatavdekar is now known as the “Father of Indian Factual Film”.
P.S. : Dadasaheb Phalke, Father of Indian Cinema, is credited to have created the first feature film of India.