Sunday, November 13, 2011

Intereting History of Greater Indian Cinema


     Cinema of greater
India, like many other cinemas has evolved over time, responding to various social, cultural and political contexts and challenges. The birth of Indian cinema can be attributed to the Lumiere brothers who introduced the art of cinema to the sub-continent. Only a few months after the Lumiere brothers introduce the art of cinematography in Paris in 1895, they held their first public showing at Mumbai's Watson's Hotel on July 1896. The Lumiere brothers cinematography first show was a silent movie of ten minutes consisting with six items - The Sea bath , The arrival of a Train, A Demolition, Ladies and Soldiers on Wheel, and Leaving the Factory. The Indian viewers appreciate the new experience the art of shadow play and the tradition of story telling with hand drawn images accompanied by sounds. It came as no surprise that potential Indians soon entered the domain of film making. 

The first film maker of greater Indian was Harischandra S Bhathvadekhar, a still photographer and an exhibitor of films, popularly known as Save Dada who made Indian ‘motion picture' history. In December 1989 he released first Indian topical films of two scene of three minutes each, which were titled 'Do Pahalwanon ki Kusti' and 'Bandar ko Nachata hua Madari '. Later in 1900 F.B Thanawala made two other short films, 'Splendid New View of Bombay' and 'Taboot Procession' generated a great interest. 

Couple of years later, Hiralal Sen  from north Calcutta started making films at the Classic Theatres. In 1901, Hiralal Sen set up Royal Bioscope, produced scenes and dance sequences from popular Bengali plays. Back in those days bioscope was added as extra attraction to popular theatres.

In 1905 J.F Madan, the founder of Elphinstone Bioscope Company linked the film production with exhibition that not only created a great influence on natives but also crossed the boundary of India. He was the first businessman to foresee the imminent business possibilities of film making in India. He also imported many Foreign actresses to act in Indian mythological tales, as many Indian actress feel shy to gaze at the film camera. 

In 1912, the first ever mythological long narrative film produced in India by R.G Tomeys named "Pundalik" depending on the life of a Maharashtrian saint. It was hugely popular among movie going audience. Although Pundalik was the first feature film to be made by an Indian , it was shot by an Englishman and never shown as an independent film. The honour of making the first Indian Feature film by an Indian goes to Dhundiraj Govind Phalke's film popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke. In 1917, Raja Harishchandra, the first feature film in India, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke. This was a silent movie of fifty minutes that laid the foundation for a thriving film industry in India

Two years later, in 1919, the first Bengali movie "Billwamangal" was made. Several works of popular Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee were adapted into films, such as, Durgeshnandini, Krishnakanter Will etc. All these were the movie of silent era.This trend of silent era continued from 1897 to 1930 and during this period of 34 years, around 1200 films were released. 

The growth of technology and the excitement it generated the world over eventually gave birth of India’s first ‘talking and singing’ film – Alam Ara made by Ardeshir Irani and screened in Bombay in 1931. Finally, India’s actors had found a voice. They could talk, they could shout, they could even cry, and they could do one more thing – sing for their audiences! 

Developments in the world of Indian cinema were rapid and the 1930s and 1940s saw the rise of
Bengali
film personalities such as Debaki Bose, Chetan Anand, S S Vasan and Nitin Bose, among others. Some of them moved to Mumbai (Bombay) and made remarkable contribution to Hindi films. The first popular star in Bengali film was probably Pramathesh Barua, who was a director himself too. Directed by Premankur Atarthi and produced by New Theatres, the first Bengali talkie Dena Paona was released in 1931; Renowned musician Rai Chand Boral composed music for this movie. In 1935, P.C. Barua directed and acted in Saratchandra Chatterjee's popular novel Devdas and this film became a phenomenon in the industry. Bimal Roy directed the Hindi version of the same in 1955. Kanan Devi was the first star actress in the domain of Bengali cinema. The real stardom in Bengali films started when films starring Uttamkumar and Suchitra Sen gained extreme popularity. 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 theme. 

India’s struggle for independence in the 1950s finally parted the curtain on the Golden Age of Indian cinema. This historic period provided a strong impetus to the industry, with themes changing to social issues relevant at the time. But it was the Golden Age (1950s - 1960s) that produced some of India’s most critically acclaimed films and memorable actors of all time. Among those in Bollywood’s hall of fame are Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Raj Kapoor, Balraj Sahani, Nargis, Bimal Roy, Meena Kumari, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.

So while the Guru Dutts and Bimal Roys held audiences in a trance, Indian cinema moved one step further with the release of K Asif`s Mughal-e-Azam in 1960. The film kickstarted a trail of romantic movies all over India. While Indian commercial cinema enjoyed popularity among movie-goers, Indian art cinema did not go unnoticed. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ritwik Ghatak, Aravindan, Satyajit Ray, Shaji Karun and several other art film directors were making movies that took India to international fame and glory.


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