Indian cinema’s first silent feature film, ‘Raja Harishchandra,’ by home-grown film maker Dadasaheb Phalke was released on May 3, 1913. Known as the ‘father of Indian cinema’ Phalke’s 40 minute offering tells the story of a righteous king, adapted from Hindu mythology. An unusual feature of the film was that all female characters were actually male actors. In the 100 years since the movie’s release, the Indian film industry – largely thanks to Bollywood – has become one of the biggest in the world. More than one thousand films are produced in several languages each year. Although the Bollywood factor has given India a huge new profile, the period of the 1950s to the 1960s is considered the Golden Age of Cinema, with some of the most acclaimed films being made during that time. The images that follow illustrate the love of cinema in that country and also includes a small visual essay featuring Ram Pratap Verma, an aspiring Bollywood film actor. — Paula Nelson( 38 photos total)

A film crew member holds a clapper board during the shooting of Bollywood film ‘Black Home’ at a beach on the outskirts of Mumbai April 26, 2013.(Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)