100 Years of Indian Cinema - 1

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Indian Cinema has now completed 100 years on April 21, 2012, a country where over 1,000 films are made every year, in several languages. During these long years Indian cinema has broken many new grounds and established several milestones. The Times of India, India's major newspaper then, hailed it as "the marvel of the century". As writer and essayist Mukul Kesavan wrote, "The art of the cinema was fashioned in India at the same time as it was developed in the West". The first Indian motion picture Raja Harischandra was produced and released in India in 1913, Directed by Dada Saheb Phalke, barely a year after the world's first motion picture was made in 1912. Those were the days of silent movies. There were movements but no dialogues or sound. It's no mean feat that India produces more films across all its regions than Hollywood. Despite rising production costs, India continues to lead in terms of quantity. Nearly 130 films were released out of Bollywood in the year ending 2011, and the numbers from Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Gujarati, Oddisa, and other north-eastern states takes the toll over 1,000. Indian cinema has prided itself on being a sole distraction and leisure industry for nearly a century, in a country where allied entertainment forms like music or the fashion industry are subservient to the glamour that cinema and its stars bring.From rock chic to glamour, to dress and design, creating indelible images and daily references, business, politics and sports, travel destinations and colloquialisms, violence and sexuality, hero-worshipping and icon-making, Indian cinema had and continues to provide templates and set trends. The Mumbai-based Hindi film industry, nicknamed Bollywood, sets the pace for style, fads, and fashion for the young and restless Indian audience between 13 and 30. G. Venket Ram, fashion and film professional, says: "The marriage between films and fashion and social trends is never as close as in India". Spicy Entertainment, Romantic melodrama- remains the staple of Indian cinema across the 15 or more regional language movie industries across the country. However, in the 21st century, things have changed. Bollywood, India's most widely watched Hindi moviedom, is changing its plot. As Sujit Sarkar, the filmmaker puts it, "Indian cinema is welcoming real and new role-casts for its stereotyped characters". Indian cinema in all languages delved into Indian mythologies and Hindu religious texts for themes and storylines when it began. Following the nation's independence, the 1930s and 40s were marked by socialist themes and the fight against poverty and society for the marginalized. The 1960s brought global winds of colour and hippie couture. The themes, however, continued to follow the rich and evil versus the poor and virtuous, the rural good guy and the city bad guy formula. As we gear up to raise a toast to a cinema that's 100 years old, it's a moment of great national pride and glory for all Indians. Unlike other western film industries, the Indian film industries have not been too heavily influenced by the Hollywood film industry and continue to retain its local flavour, essence, emotions and dialect. Indian films get to do their share of globetrotting at prestigious world film festivals, Indian stars walk the red carpet in Cannes and other festivals along with their global counterparts, our films find their reviews by top international film journals and newspapers. Granted, many Indian filmmakers continue to hope for Uncle Oscar's mini replica to adorn their trophy collection, but the endorsement isn't all important anymore. India has its own distinct multi-lingual, multi-hued crop of films, some of them entertaining, some made for aesthetic pleasure, but all of them for your eyes only, for people like us. Pather Panchali(1955) directed by Satyajit Ray was among the earliest Indian films to have received global...
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