Shri Krishna Janma (1918)

 ●  Hindi ● 12 mins

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Mandakini, the film-maker's daughter, played the child god Krishna, repeating her role in Phalke's next mythological, Kaliya Mardan (1919). Beginning with the invocation of 'almighty god', the only available sequence of the film (576ft), which may in fact be its last episode, opens with a shot of a river from behind the backs of a group of people, echoing the position of the audience vis-a-vis the miraculous appearance of young Krishna rising out of the water astride the demon snake Kaliya. Phalke then cuts 180 degrees across the axis to the audience of the scene, an editing pattern he repeats several times, locking the two spaces into each other at right angles. The viewer enters Yashoda's space as she rocks the sleeping Krishna's crib and irilagines the god as Gopala, generating a fantasy space in which the evil Kamsa imagines Krishna threateningly duplicated many times around him. Kamsa then imagines himself dead as his severed head rises up out of the frame and descends again, a matte effect that was one of the film's · highlights. The end has people of all castes paying obeisance to the deity and Phalke inserted the title-card: 'May this humble offering be accepted by the Lord'. Adverts included a reference to a 'spectacular' scene of 'the heavenward flight of Maya in the form of lightning'. Released to great acclaim in Bombay.
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Cast: Bhagirathi Bai, DD Dabke, Mandakini Phalke

Crew: Dadasaheb Phalke (Director)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1918 (India)

Hindi Name: श्री कृष्णा जन्मा

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Screenplay Writer
Story Writer
Film Type:
Short Film
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1