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Anna Salunke

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Nationality  Indian

Name  Anna Salunke
Role  Actor
Anna Salunke httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Movies  Raja Harishchandra, Lanka Dahan, Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra, Bhakta Pralhad

Occupation  Actor, Cinematographer

Dada Saheb Phalke's first heroine was a man!

Anna Hari Salunke, also known as A. Salunke and Annasaheb Saluke, was an Indian actor who performed female roles in early Indian cinema and also a cinematographer. He is credited as the first person to perform as a heroine in Indian cinema when he played the role of Rani Taramati of King Harishchandra in Dada Saheb Phalke’s first full-length film, Raja Harishchandra (1913). In 1917, Salunke became the first to play a double role in Indian cinema, by playing the roles of both the hero as well as heroine in Lanka Dahan.


Anna Salunke Anna Salunke Wikipedia


Salunke portrayed the heroine in Raja Harishchandra (1913), the first full-length Indian feature film. He played the role of Queen Taramati, the consort of king Harishchandra, whose tale is told in Hindu mythology. Salunke worked as a cook or waiter in a restaurant on Grant Road, Mumbai, frequented by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (Dadasaheb Phalke), the director and producer of the film. Phalke could not find a woman who agreed to act in the film; even prostitutes and dancing girls refused. Phalke saw Salunke, who had an effeminate figure and slender hands, and convinced him to play a female role. While Salunke was working for a monthly salary of 10 rupees, Phalke offered him 15 and Salunke agreed.

Salunke also acted in Phalke's Lanka Dahan (1917), played in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Salunke played the first double role in Indian cinema, by playing both the male role of the hero Rama and the female role of his wife Sita, the heroine. However, Salunke had developed a more muscular physique, by then and the audience could see his biceps even as he played the goddess Sita.

Salunke also acted in Satyanarayan (1922) directed by V.S. Nirantar and Phalke's Buddha Dev (1923). He was also the cinematographer on both films. Later, Salunke abandoned his acting career and fully concentrated on cinematography. Besides Nirantar and Phalke, he worked with G.V. Sane (who acted with Salunke in Raja Harishchandra) and Ganpat G. Shinde (co-starred with Salunke in Lanka Dahan) as directors. Last of his films as cinematographer were in 1931.


Salunke, during his film career spanning 18 years from 1913 to 1931, acted in various films including five in the female role, most of them were on Hindu mythological themes. He was also a cinematographer in a few films.

Selected filmography

In female roles
  • Raja Harishchandra (1913)
  • Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra (1917) as Taramati
  • Lanka Dahan (1922) in a double role as Seeta and also as Rama
  • Satyanarayan (1922)
  • Buddha Dev (1923), his last movie as an actress
  • In several roles


    Anna Salunke Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Lanka Dahan
    Raja Harishchandra
    Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra