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15 March 2008

Anna Salunke (189? - ?) pioneer in cross-acting.

When Dhundiraj Govind Phalke made the first Indian films, acting had become such a degraded profession in that country that no women, not even prostitutes would perform.

He found a young man, A. Salunke, who had appropriate slender features and could pass as a woman. The man was currently working as a cook for 10 rupees a month, and was pleased to become an actress for 15 rupees a month.

Billed as Anna Salunke, he played female roles in Raja Harishchandra, 1913 (the first ever film made in India), Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra, 1917, and in Lanka Dahan, 1917 he played both Seeta and her husband Rama (the first double role in Indian cinema).

He later worked as a cinematographer.

  • Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (dir & scr). Raja Harishchandra. Anna Alunke as Taramati, D.D. Dabke as Raja Harishchandra. India 1913 BW Silent.
  • Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (dir & scr). Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra. Anna Alunke as Taramati, D.D. Dabke as Raja Harishchandra. India 1917 BW Silent.
  • Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (dir & scr). Lanka Dahan. Anna Alunke as Rama, Anna Alunke as Seeta, Ganpat Shinda as Hanuman. India 1917 BW Silent.

1 comment:

Zed Háche said...

Great informative article