Indian Film Industry Bollywood

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The entertainment industry in India has outperformed the economy and is one of the fastest growing sectors in India. However, it registered a moderate growth of over 6 per cent in 200.The industry is expected to grow from Rs. 166 billion (U.S. $ 3.45 billion) to Rs. 419 billion(U.S. $ 8.72 billion) by the year 2007. Film entertainment is the most popular form of entertainment and it is this undiminished passion through the decades that has driven India to become the largest producer of films in the world. Since 1931, when talkies were introduced in the country, the film industry has produced more than 67,000 films in more than 30 different languages and dialects. The film industry recorded a loss of Rs. 3 billion (U.S. $ 62.5 million) in gross revenues of Rs 39 billion (U.S. $ 812.5 million) in 2002. But, it is expected to grow annually by 19 per cent to reach Rs. 93 billion (U.S. $ 1.93 billion) by 2007. The industry produced 1200 films in 2002, and 1,013 films in 2001, up from 855 films in 2000. While Hindi films continued to be the largest segment in 2001 (23 per cent share), south Indian language films (Telegu, Tamil and Malyalam) have seen growth in their shares.

India's movie industry is a great sector for foreign investment by corporatized entertainment companies. Though risks are high on a per-movie basis, the risk spreads out across a number of films. However, the domestic filmmaking industry, despite its profligacy, is yet to acquire the character of professionalism on a large scale.


When the Lumiere Brothers' first films were shown at Bombay's Watson's Hotel in 1895 or when Dadasaheb Phalke released his epochal feature film Raja Harischandra in 1913, it is unlikely that either the exhibitors or the pioneer film maker realised they were unleashing a mass entertainment medium that would hold millions in sway for the next hundred years; that they were spawning an industry that in years to come would overtake the rest of the world in film production!

For most Indians, cinema is integral to their lives; it is not a distant, two to three hour distraction, but a vicarious lifestyle for them. The large screen provides an alternative, an escape from the realities of day-to-day life. The protagonists are totally identified with, the hero is applauded, the virtuous is worshipped and the villain is condemned. The actors and actresses are household names; there is no escaping their omnipresence, from the Paanwala (betel vendor) to the most revered Indian painter - they are all caught up with the magnetism of screen personalities.

A study of the vicissitudes of Indian cinema would throw light on the progress of technology, especially cinematography, and the changing political scene and social mores and attitudes. The silent films launched by Phalke, which had titles in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu, by and large related to myths and legends. The stories were familiar to the audience and required minimum commentary. Historicals also proved very popular; Harsh, Chandragupta, Ashoka and the Mughal and Maratha kings strode the silver screen amidst cardboard pillars and in tinsel costumes. Strangely enough, while in the nineties we are still arguing over whether or not 'kissing' should be shown on screen, in the first decade of Indian cinema, with the British paying scant attention to censorship except when the Establishment was attacked in any way; leading heroines of the day kissed their leading men without inhibitions, like Lalita Pawar in Pati Bhakti (1922)!

With the advent of Gandhiji came the plea for according a better status to women, the removal of untouchability and a cry for religious harmony. The silent era of Hiralal Sen, Baburao Painter and R. Nataraja Mudaliar came to an end when Adershir M. Irani produced his first talkie, Alam Ara in 1931. If Phalke was the father of Indian cinema, Irani was the father of the...
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