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100 Years of Indian Cinema - Short Essay 2

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100 Years of Indian Cinema - Short Essay 2

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Indian cinema has an identity that is very unique and unmatched. We have moved from the black and white silent films to 3D, but our cinema continues to retain its basic essence - to thrill. Even as internet downloads and television continue to cannibalize the theatrical revenues of Indian films, the lure of the 35 mm is something else altogether. It was Phalke who introduced India to world cinema at a time when working in films was taboo. After the success of his film 'Raja Harishchandra', several filmmakers in Bombay and Madras began making silent films. By the mid 1920s, Madras had become the epicentre for all film related activities. Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu, SS Vasan, AV Meiyappan set up production houses in Madras to shoot Telugu and Tamil films. 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 cinema. 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 (Kalidass) were released in the same year. 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' 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 living in. A close relationship between epic consciousness and the art of cinema was established. It was against this backdrop that filmmakers like V.Shantaram, Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor and Mehboob Khan made...

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