Raja Harishchandra diretto da Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, il padre del cinema indiano, è stato il primo lungometraggio prodotto in India.
Il film che narra le gesta di un leggendario re uscì nelle sale il 21 aprile del 1913. Soltanto 40 minuti di girato sono sopravvisuti alla storia.
The story centres around the hero Harishchandra, a noble king, who, to honour his promise to the sage Vishwamitra, sacrifices his kingdom, his wife, and eventually also his children. By the end, however, having pleased the Gods with his actions, Harishchandra’s former glory is restored.
Phalke was apparently inspired to make films after watching the French film The Life of Christ (1902), twice in one day. He quit his job at a printing press and went to London to learn the technical ins and outs of making a film. Returning to India, he pledged in his life-assurance policies and his wife sold her jewellery to raise the capital needed.