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The Birth of Indian Cinema: A Look at the First Movie Theatre in India

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

India has a rich and vibrant film industry, but it all started with the establishment of the first movie theatre in the country. Let us delve into the fascinating history of how India's tryst with cinema began.

The Lumiere Brothers, who invented the Cinematograph in France, are credited with organizing the first public screening of moving pictures in India. It happened on July 7, 1896, at the Watson Hotel in Bombay (now Mumbai), where they showcased six short films. The event created a stir among the city's residents, and it marked the beginning of a new era in Indian entertainment.

However, it wasn't until 1912 that the first permanent movie theatre was established in India. The Elphinstone Picture Palace, named after Lord Elphinstone, who was the Governor of Bombay from 1887-1890, opened its doors to the public on April 7, 1912. Located in the bustling area of Parel in Bombay, the theatre was owned by J.F. Madan, a film exhibitor and distributor.

The Elphinstone Picture Palace had a seating capacity of 700 and showed mostly English films. It was an instant success, and soon other theatres followed suit. By the 1930s, Bombay had become the hub of Indian cinema, with the industry producing nearly 200 films every year.

Today, the Elphinstone Picture Palace is no longer operational, but its legacy lives on. It is considered a landmark in the history of Indian cinema and is remembered as the birthplace of the country's film industry.

In conclusion, the establishment of the first movie theatre in India marked a significant moment in the country's cultural history. It laid the foundation for what would later become one of the largest film industries in the world. The Elphinstone Picture Palace will always be remembered as the birthplace of Indian cinema.


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