The Indian Cinema has undergone a massive
change over the years. It started in 1913 from
silent movies to the first talkie in 1931 to the
colored movies to the ones today.
Indian cinema, along with all its peculiarities,
has been a reflection of the socio-economic,
political and cultural changes that took place in
As the world has become a global village, the
Indian film industry has reached out further to
the international audiences too.
BIRTH OF THE INDIAN CINEMA
Bal Gangadhar Tilak admired movies and
supported Dadasaheb Phalke in his attempts in
creating a swadeshi cinema.
He was the first in Marathi press to carry film
reviews in his daily newspaper Kesari.
Dadasaheb Phalke, released his epochal feature
film Raja Harishchandra on 3rd May 1913 and
thus he was called as the father of Indian
Cinema. This was the first motion picture
premiered on 21st April 1913.
Phalke made other films too- Shrikrishna
Janma in 1917, Kaliya Mardan in 1919, etc
which had strains of nationalism. His filma
introduced mythological genre to the Indian
Cinema merging his notion of Swadeshi into
Inspired from these the youth at that time
started making patriotic films. For instance
Baburao Painter and his Maharashtra Film
Company made Kalyan Khajina(1924),
Shahala Shah(1925) and others. These
films stirred the masses into revolt.
Several others in Bombay and Madras were
making such silent movies. Raghupathi
Venkaiah Naidu, S.S. Vasan, A.V.
Meiyappan had set up production houses in
THE FIRST TALKIE
The silent era came to an end when Ardeshir Irani
produced his first talkie, 'Alam Ara' in 1931.
If Phalke was the father of Indian cinema, Irani was the
father of the talkie. The talkies changed the face of Indian
Apart from looks, the actors not only needed a
commanding voice but also singing skills, as music
became a defining element in Indian cinema.
The year also marked the beginning of the Talkie era in
South Indian films. The first talkie films in Bengali
(Jumai Shasthi), Telugu (Bhakta Prahlad) and Tamil
(Kalidas) were also released in the same year.
The thirties is recognized as the decade of social protest in
the history of Indian Cinema. Three big banners - Prabhat,
Bombay Talkies and New Theatres gave the lead in making
serious but gripping and entertaining films for all classes of
the wide audience.
A number of films making a strong plea against social
injustice were also made in this period like V. Santharam's
Duniya na Mane, Aadmi and Padosi; Franz Osten's Achut
Duniya Na Mane
Others are Damle & Fatehlal's Sant Tukaram; Mehboob's
Watan, Ek hi Raasta and Aurat.
For the first time Ardeshir Irani attempted a colour picutre in
1937 with Kisan Kanya.
The decade also witnessed the release of the first talkie
films in Marathi (Ayodhiyecha Raja- 1932); Gujarati
(Narasinh Mehta - 1932); Kannada (Dhurvkumar - 1934);
Oriya (Sita Bibaha - 1934); Assamese(Joymati -1935);
Punjabi (Sheela- 1935) and Malayalam (Balan - 1938).
THE TIMES OF WORLD WAR 2
AND THE INDEPENDENCE
The forties was a tumultuous decade; the
first half was ravaged by war and the
second saw drastic political changes all
over the world.
In the middle of the Second World War in
1945 came 'Kismet' in 1943 starring Ashok
Kumar which became one of the biggest
hits in the history of Indian cinema.
It had some bold themes - the first anti-hero
and an unmarried pregnancy. It clearly
showed that the filmmakers of the era were
bolder than the times in which they were
A close relationship between epic consciousness and the
art of cinema was being established.
It was against this backdrop that filmmakers like
V.Shantaram(Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani), Raj
Kapoor(Barsaat and Aag) and Mehboob Khan(Roti) made
In the meantime, the film industry had made rapid strides
in the South, where Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films were
taking South India by storm.
By the late 1940s, films were being
made in various Indian languages
with religion being the dominant
1940s to late 1950s was also the
golden era of music. The duo
Shankar Jaikishan(S-J), O.P. Nayyar,
Madan Mohan, C. Ramchandra, Salil
Chaudhury, Naushad, S.D. Burman -
all had their distinctive style.
Each vied with the other to produce
some of the most unforgettable
melodies India has ever known.
THE GOLDEN AGE
50s and 60s were considered as the
Golden Age of Indian cinema.
The first International Film Festival
of India held in early 1952 at
Bombay had a great impact on the
The big turning point came in 1955
with the arrival of Satyajit Ray and
his classic Pather Panchali which
opened up a new path leading the
Indian film to the World Film scene.
International recognition came to it with the
Cannes award for best human document
followed by an unprecedented crop of
foreign and national awards.
The impact of neorealism was evident in
some distinguished films like Bimal Roy's Do
Bigha ayal BaajZamin, Devadas and
Madhumati; Rajkapoor's Boot Polish, Shri-
420 and Jagte Raho;V. Shantharam's Do
Aankhen Barah Haath and Jhanak Jhanak
Pe; Mehboob's Mother India; Gurudutt's
Pyaasa and Kagaz Ke Phool and
The first Indo-Soviet co-production Pardesi by
K.A.Abbas was also made during the fifties.
The transition to colour and the consequent preference
for escapist entertainment and greater reliance on stars
brought about a complete change in the film industry.
The sixties was a decade of mediocre films made
mostly to please the distributors and to some extent,
meet the demands of the box office.
The sixties began with a bang with the release of K.Asif's
Mughal-E-Azam which set a record at the box-office.
It was followed by notable productions, which include
romantic, musicals, and melodramas of a better quality.
Rajkapoor's Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and Sangam;
Dilip Kumar's Gungajamuna; Gurudutt's Sahib Bibi aur
Gulam; Dev Anand's Guide; Bimal Roy's Bandini;
S.Mukherji's Junglee; Sunil Dutt's Mujhe Jeene Do and
the experimental Yaadein; Basu Bhattacharya's Teesri
Kasam; Pramod Chakravorthy's Love in Tokyo;
Ramanand Sagar's Arzoo; Sakhti Samantha's Aradhana;
Hrishikesh Mukherji's Aashirwad and Anand; B.R.
Chopra's Waqt; Manoj Kumar's Upkar and Prasad
Production's Milan were the significant Hindi films of the
Among the regional languages, Malayalam cinema
derived much of its strength from literature during the
Malayalam cinema hit the head lines for the first time
when Raim Kariat's Chemmeen (1965) won the
President's Gold Medal.
Towards the end of the decade, Mrinal Sen's Bhuvan
Shome, signalled the beginning of the new wave in
A cinema of social significance and artistic sincerity,
presenting a modern, humanistic perspective more
durable than the fantasy world of the popular cinema
had developed by then.
The 70s completely changed the way films were made,
especially in Hindi film industry. Changing social norms
and changing economies influenced movies and the
companies that made them.
The narrative style changed. The story structure
changed. Characters changed. Content changed.
Masala films were the demand of the time.
The genre promised instant attraction and had great
The seventies further-widened the gap between multi-
star big budgeted off beat films.
The popular Hindi hits of the decade include Kamal
Amrohi's Pakeeza; Rajkapoor's Bobby; Devar's Haathi Mere
Saathi, Ramesh Sippy's Sholay, Zanjeer, Deewar,Khoon
Pasina, Yaadon Ki Baarat, Yash Chopra’s Kabhi
Kabhi;Dharamveer, Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Kisise Kum
Nahin, and Muquaddar Ka Sikandar.
Of these majority of the films were action oriented with
revenge as the dominating theme.
It was the age of the angry young man and Amitabh
Bachchan rose to prominence with the success of Sholay,
Zanjeer and Deewar.
While Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Jitendra and
Dharmendra continued to bask in the glory of back to
back hits, the actresses were not far behind. Right from
the time of Savitri, Vyjayanthi Mala, Nargis, Waheeda
Rahman and Sharmila Tagore to Sridevi, Rekha, Smita
Patil, Hema Malini, several actresses became the
heartthrobs of India.
Down in the South, the new wave cinema originated in
Karnataka and Kerala. Pattabhi Rama Reddy's Samskara
(1970) and Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Swayamvaram (1972)
were the trend setters in Kannada and Malayalam
This continued with a series of socially conspicuous films
like Chomana Dudi, Ghatasradha, Arangetram, Chuvanna
Vithukal and many more.
The Hindi new wave
reached its bloom period
towards the end of the
seventies with the
coming of film makers
like Saeed Mirza (Albert
Pinto Ko gussa Kyon
aata hai, Aravind Desai ki
(Chakr), Sai Paranjpe
(Sparsh), Musafar Ali
(Gaman) and Biplab Roy
1980s and 90s
The new cinema movement
continued with full spirit in
the next decade (eighties)
also. Shyam Benegal
presented some good
movies like Manthan,
Bhumika, Nishant, Junoon,
and Trikal. Nihlani's Aaghat
and Tamas were remarkable
Other important films with
new style of treatment
Jha), 36 Chowringhee
Lane(Aparna Sen), Umrao
Jaan (Musafir Ali), Andhi
Gali (Buddhadeb Dasgupta),
Aajka Robin Hood (Tapan
The new wave masters of Kerala,
Adoor and Aravindan, consolidated
their position in the 80s with their films
Anantharam, Esthappan, Pokkuveyil,
Chidambaram, and Oridath.
Elippathayam won the prestigious
British film Institute award for 1982.
Shaji N. Karun's maiden film Piravi
(1988) bagged several national and
international awards and was shown in
nearly forty film festivals.
Meera Nair, the young woman director,
won the Golden Camera award at
Cannes for her first film Salaam
Bombay in 1989.
The late eighties and early nineties saw the revival of the
musical love stories in Hindi cinema.
Mr. India, Tezaab, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Maine Pyar
Kiya, Chandni, Tridev, Hum, Ghayal, Saudagar,
Rakhwala, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander,Heena,Hum Hain
Rahi Pyarke, Baazigar, Aaina, Yeh Dillagi, Hum Aapke
Hai Kaun, Krantiveer, Raja, Rangeela were some of the
popular Hindi films of the last decade.
90s was a mixed genre of romantic, thrillers, action and
A stark upgrade was seen on the canvas as technology
gifted the industry Dolby digital sound effects, advanced
special effects, choreography and international appeal.
The development brought about investments from the
corporate sector along with finer scripts and performances.
It was time to shift focus to aesthetic appeal.
Stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Rajnikanth, Madhuri Dixit,
Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Chiranjeevi, Juhi Chawla,etc.,.
enriched Indian cinema with their performances.
From Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Manipur came films
like Tahader Katha, Bagh Bahadur, Charachar
(Buddhadeb Dasgupta), Uttoran (Sandip Ray), Wheel
Chair(Tapan Sinha), Unishe April (Rituparno Ghosh),
Adimimansa, Lalvanya Preethi (A.K.Bir),etc.
In the South Malayalam Cinema presented some
notable films. They include Vasthuhara (Aravindan),
From Tamil and Telugu cinema, there came few films
like Anjali, Roja and Bombay (Mani Ratnam),etc.
English films like Miss. Beatty's Children (Pamela
Rooks), and English August (Dev Benegal) were also
produced during this period.
THE NEW MILLENNIUM
Now, the Indian cinema has reached the
new millennium and a revolution of sorts
has happened in terms of defining
glamour, entertainment, commercial
values, budgeting, marketing and box
Today Indian Cinema ,especially, Hindi
cinema is not only popular in India but in
parts of the Middle East, Pakistan, UK
and virtually every other place where
Films like Lagaan, Salaam Bombay and
Monsoon Wedding making the
international market sit up and take
notice definitely indicate that India is
poised for bigger things as far as
Cinema goes. Monsoon Wedding was
the all-time top 10 foreign box-office hits
Apart from regular screenings at major international film
festivals, the overseas market contributed a sizeable
chunk to Bollywood’s box office collections.
Regular foreign Investments made by major global
studios such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and
Warner Bros put a stamp of confirmation that Bollywood
had etched itself on the global podium.
Emergence of new age filmmakers like Anurag
Kashyap, Rajkumar Hirani, Dibakar Banerjee ,Vishal
Bhardwaj,etc., has changed the scene.
There are movies on a number of themes. There are
comedies, thrillers, horror, fiction, movies with message
like Taare Zameen Pe, Vicky Donor, Munnabhai MBBS,
Chak De India, Lajja, and many more.
CELEBRATING THE 100 YEARS
In a show of solidarity and unity, representatives from
India's multi-billion dollar, dynamic cinema world
came together for the inauguration of the Centenary
Film Festival on 25TH April 2013.
The idea behind the fest on Indian cinema, the
nation's "soft power", is to create a week-long event,
which "truly epitomizes the ethos of the country".
A highlight of the inaugural
programme was the screening
of silent film Throw of Dice, with
a live musical orchestra by
maestro Nishat Khan.
The foyer area saw a display of
old cameras with descriptions,
which clearly gave one an idea
of the progress the country's
cinema industry has made over
a century since silent film Raja
Harishchandra was made in
Over the days, the festival will
host screenings of some
classics as well as
contemporary Indian films by
master directors such as Bimal
Roy, Guru Dutt, Shyam
The fest is being celebrated in Siri Fort Auditorium as
well in venues such as Jamia Milia University,
Jawaharlal Nehru University and India Habitat Center.
Another key highlight of the festival is the 'Cut-Uncut', a
3-day workshop conceived and being executed by
members of the Central Board of Film Certification.
A special Satyajit Ray retrospective and display of
artwork of Ray, has also been arranged to pay homage.
A play on the life and times of Dadasaheb Phalke by
Aamir Raza Hussain would mark the end of the festival
on April 30, while the centenary celebrations will
culminate in the National Film Awards ceremony at
Vigyan Bhavan on May 3.
The 66th edition of Cannes International Film Festival has
India as the guest country this time and is thus celebrating
the 100 years of Indian cinema.
The festival is an eleven day event starting May 15, 2013
and it will see screening of three Indian movies - Bombay
Talkies, Monsoon Shooting and Dabba - in different sections.
It will open with the Amitabh Bachchan-Leonardo DiCaprio
starrer The Great Gatsby.
Vidya Balan will be a part of the jury. The jury will select
films in competition section for the awards, which will be
announced during the closing ceremony May 26.
Sonam Kapoor has shot for a special feature with a French
team who has come down to capture a day in the life of a
Bollywood celebrity. They have been investing time
apprehending Sonam's routine between her shooting and