Mumbai: How Indian cinema looked hundred years back, and how it looks now, is something that needs a deep observation. The look of Hindi cinema has changed by leaps and bounds. Movies since 1913 have traveled a long way, they have got bigger, technically sounder, and more close to life.
Pardaphash brings to you the glimpses of how Indian cinema's canvas has been painted with black & white movies to color movies.
Have a look:
1913 - 1922 (Era of Silent Movies)
After watching a silent film - ‘The Life of Christ’, father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke made his first film, ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1912. It was first shown publicly on May 3, 1913 at Mumbai's Coronation Cinema. Later, Dadasaheb made various silent movies including ‘Mohini Bhasmasur’ (1913), ‘Satyavan Savitri’ (1914) and ‘Lanka Dahan’ (1917). But ‘Lanka Dahan’ which was based on the narrative of Sita's abduction by Ravan, was India’s first box-office hit.
Apart from Phalke, Jamshedji Madan, Dheerein Ganguly and Nitin Bose were renowned filmmakers of that era. During this period, it was considered inappropriate for women to work in films. So, even the female roles were played by the male actors.
1923 - 1932 (Era of Talkie Movies)
This era saw the emergence of talkie movies as the growth of technology gave birth to India's first talking and singing film ‘Alam Ara’ made by Ardeshir Irani which was screened in Bombay in 1931. The film was a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl, based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David.
Finally, the Indian actors found a voice. They could talk, they could shout, cry, and they could do one more thing - sing for their audiences!
Besides ‘Alam Ara’, ‘Nal Damyanti’, ‘Maya’ and ‘Machinda’ were other hits during this period. Baburao Painter, Dhiren Ganguly, Chandu Lal Shah and V Shantaram were the popular filmmakers of this era.
1933 - 1942 (Studio Era)
This era saw the emergence of three big banners in Indian cinema, Prabhat, Bombay Talkies and New Theatres, which took the lead in making serious films with gripping social themes meant for all the classes of cinema audience. Its most successful initial product was PC Barua's ‘Devdas’, whose Hindi remake established the legendary career of Kundan Saigal. Devika Rani was the top heroine of this period. In addition to Devika Rani, other notable actors to work for Bombay Talkies at one point or another included Ashok Kumar and Madhubala.
Veteran historical filmmaker Sohrab Modi played prominent role in changing the Indian films by shaping their style and presentation. Some notable movies of this era were ‘King of Ayodhya’, ‘Aurat’, ‘Achut Kanya’, ‘Watan’ and ‘Ek Hi Raasta’.
1943 - 1952 (Stardom and Showmanship)
Ashok Kumar was the top hero of this era. He worked in films like ‘Humayun’, ‘Kismat’ and ‘Mahal’, taking Indian cinema to new heights. Ashok Kumar alias Dadamoni introduced stardom in the Hindi film industry.
Apart from Ashok Kumar, tragedy King Dilip Kumar and showman Raj Kapoor were the popular stars. Dilip Kumar earned applauds for his flawless acting in ‘Jugnu’ (1947) while Raj Kapoor's directorial debut ‘Aag’ was also a hit.
With his blockbuster ‘Awara’, Raj Kapoor developed his image as Charlie Chaplin of India. He is also known as ‘Showman of Indian Cinema’. He appeared in Mehboob Khan’s ‘Andaz’ in 1949 also starring Dilip Kumar and Nargis, one of the popular actresses of Hindi cinema.
More than 100 films were released in 1947, including ‘Aaj Aur Kal’, ‘Chalte Chalte’, ‘Chandrashekhar’, ‘Dak Bangla’ and ‘Neel Kamal’.
In 1950, RK Films was launched with ‘Barsat’. It was the same year when the Central Board of Film Censors was set up. The first International Film Festival of India was held in 1952 in Bombay (Mumbai).
1953 - 1962 (Cinematic Dreams)
This historic period provided a strong impetus to the industry, with themes changing to social issues relevant at the time. Sure they were entertaining but the movies were now also a potent medium to educate the masses.
The popular movies of this era were ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, ‘Do Beegha Zameen’, ‘Shaymchi Aai’, ‘Mahabalipuaram’ and ‘Pathar Panchali’.
In 1957, ‘Mother India’, which brought the character of mother at the center-stage in Hindi films, was nominated for Oscar. This era 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, Balraj Sahani, Bimal Roy, Meena Kumari, Madhubala , Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Manoj Kumar.
Indian cinema moved one step ahead with the release of K Asif's ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ in 1960. The film kick started a trail of romantic movies all over India.
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.
Other famous flicks of this era were ‘Pyasa’, ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’, ‘Aadhi Raat’ and ‘Anhoni’.
1963 - 1972 (Providing Social Enrichment)
Raj Kapoor's film ‘Sangam’ popularized the trend of foreign locales. During this era, the cinema had shifted its concerns towards more romantic genres. Following the Indo-Pak war of 1962 and 1965, the Indian officer came to be a rallying point for the national imagination such as first superstar of Indian cinema Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore's ‘Aaradhna’. Chetan Anand's ‘Haqeeqat’ was the memorable war film of the decade.
Other memorable films of this era were ‘Shaheed’, ‘Purab Aur Paschim’, ‘Guide’ and ‘Teesri Manzil’.
1973 - 1982 (Dominated by the Angry Young Man)
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan developed his image as ‘Angry Young Man’ during this period. He acted in blockbuster movies like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Deewar’. With Shyam Benegal's ‘Ankur’, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri and Smita Patil entered Bollywood.
In 1975, National Film Development Corporation was set up. Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and Gulzar changed the face of Indian cinema with their new techniques and approach.
King of romance Yash Chopra's ‘Silsila’ (1981), starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha and Jaya Bachchan was one of the blockbusters in 80s.
The 80s saw the rise of several woman directors such as Aparna Sen, Prema Karnath and Meera Nair.
1983 - 1992 (Core Entertainment)
‘Tezaab’, ‘Parinda’, ‘Kala Bazar’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘Salam Bombay’, ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Deewana’ and ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak were some of the box office hits.
Apart from this, the three popular Khans of Bollywood Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan also made their entry in the industry.
The 1990s ushered in a mixed genre of romantic films, thrillers, action movies and comedy films. Gradually, the face of Indian cinema was changing once again. Technology now gave us Dolby digital sound effects, advanced special effects, choreography and international appeal. This brought investments from the corporate sector along with finer scripts and performances.
Other stars like Rajnikanth, Chiranjeevi, Juhi Chawla began to explore ways to use new techniques to enrich Indian cinema with their performances.
1993 - 2002 (Mass Entertainers)
Indian cinema finally found global mass appeal at the turn of the 21st century. As the world became a global village, the industry reached out further to international audiences.
Apart from regular screenings at major international film festivals, the overseas market contributes large chunk to Bollywood's box office collections.
This period was dominated by the three Khans, Salman, Shahrukh and Aamir. Hum ‘Aapke Hain Kaun’, ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Satya’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ were the blockbuster movies of this period.
2002 - 2012 (Prominent Bulging of Sheer Talent)
Prominent Indian corporate firms such as Zee, UTV and Adlabs also jumped onto the Bollywood bandwagon to produce and distribute films. Also, this gelled well with the multiplex culture and gave fame and fortune to producers and stars. These bigger companies gave filmmakers an opportunity to experiment and innovate; films thereby depicted more realism in reel and provided new aspects of moviemaking.
This decade has brought up a whole new meaning of what is a hit and what is a blockbuster. There also stand movies which were made on a low budget but still made quality collection at the box-office.
Some of the best Hindi films from this period are Swades, Munna Bhai MBBS, Rang De Basanti, Omkara, 3 Idiots, My Name Is Khan, A Wednesday, Gangs of Wasseypur, then there are comedies like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Phas Gaye Re Obama which depict how far we have come in all genres.
Today, the industry is moving ahead with gen-next stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Parineeti Chopra, Imran Khan and many others.