An Essay on 100 YEARS OF INDIAN CINEMA
A hundred years ago Dada Saheb Phalke made a movie about a king who never lied. Phalke’s inspiration came from an English film ‘The Life and Passion of Christ’ and he too wanted to translate the lives of Indian Gods to the screen. His first production ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was screened at Coronation Cinema in Mumbai on 3 May 1913 marking the beginning of Indian cinema. Regarded as the father of the Indian cinema, Phalke went on to make several silent films but became the first casualty when the silent era passed.‘Alam Ara’ debuted at Majestic Cinema in Mumbai on 14 March 1931, a love story between a gypsy and a prince, starring Zubeida, Master Vettal as well as Prithvi Raj Kapoor. It was so popular that police had to be called in to control the crowd. Ironically the first talkie now lies silent as its print perished in a fire in National archive in 2003. 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. 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 came with 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. By the 1940s, the winning formula at the Box Office had been thought – Songs, dance, drama and fantasy. 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 their films. 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...
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