Hiralal Sen made over forty films. Most of the films he made depicted scenes from theatrical productions played at Amarendra Dutta’s Classic Theatre in Calcutta. At that time raw film was imported into the country. Between 1901 and 1904, he produced many films for Classic Theatre including Bhramar, Hariraj, and Buddhadev. His longest film, produced in 1903 and titled Alibaba and the Forty Thieves, was also based on an original Classic Theatre performance. However, not much is known about this feature film since it was never screened. He also produced a number of advertising films and newsfilms taking commissions. Having made two films advertising Jabakusum Hair Oil and Edwards Tonic, he became the first Indian to use film for advertising purposes.

A film by Sen documenting the Anti-Partition Demonstration and Swadeshi movement at the Town Hall, Calcutta on 22 September 1905 is generally considered India’s first political film. In 1905, it was advertised as a “genuine Swadeshi film of our own make” and ended with the rallying cry for freedom, Vande Mataram.

Dedicated To Hiralal Sen

Captured Moments