'Chhath Mela' was the first movie made in Bihar

Chhath Mela: The first film made in Bihar

Today, India is the biggest film industry in the world which produces more than 1,800 films every year. Indian movies are liked all over the world and regional cinema plays a vital role in it. Satyajit Ray is the best example, who introduced Bengali cinema to the world. Even though when he became so famous he didn’t stop working for his regional industry and used it as his identity.

But when we talk about Bihari cinema we can’t even think of 10 movies that have contributed to Indian cinema in any way. We can’t imagine any Bhojpuri films without vulgarity and illogical stories these days. Although some people are working hard to give recognition to Bihari cinema. With their creativity, they are breaking all the stereotypes. Still, Bihar is nowhere near achieving that goal. Its struggle to reach that goal with the ignorance of our regional language is truly an uphill battle.

But the Bihari film industry was not always like that. There was a time when regional cinemas used to be rare in India and people had to watch Hindi movies due to a lack of options.

The last king of Deo established a film studio in 1930 in his fort “Dev Raj Virasat” located in Deo, Aurangabad, Bihar. He made the first movie in Bihar called “Chhath mela” in 1930. This 16 mm silent film was made in 4 reels and took 32 days to complete. Raja Jagannath himself was the writer, director, and producer of the film. Joseph Bruno was the editor of this film, he specially came to Deo from London for the film. After the film was made, it was first screened in Deo fort, Bihar. People from Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada, Sasaram, and Patna had reached there to watch it.

Later, when the talkie cinema era started in India, Jagannath Kinkar produced a feature film, “Vivamangal” in 1932 with the famous director of that time Dhirendra Nath Ganguly. In 1934 he produced another feature film The Silent life Divine or Punarjanma. He also published a song collection in the Maghi language.

On 16 April 1934, Raja Jagannath prasad kinkar died. After his death, the queen took charge and ruled until 1947. And after that, this fort came under the Government of India.

The origin of the fort is still a mystery. It is said that it was built by Praveel Singh in 1700 AD. In the painting of the Deo temple by Daniells in 1790, we can see some parts of the fort, it looks like a large structure with a fortified wall made of clay and tiled like a slopping roof. And in the photograph of the Deo temple captured by Peppe in 1870, in which we can see some parts of the fort as it stands today.

The fort is now in dilapidated condition and there is no one to take care of it. People repeatedly demanded to the government to repair the fort. But the apathy of the government is turning the fort into ruins. There is no evidence of the first film studio in Bihar left there. And hardly the people there even know anything about it.

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Born in Bihar, brought up in India!