Bolly History

Bolly history began in the early years of the 20th century. The new technology of moving pictures arrived in India from England, France, Italy, Germany and the U.S. One of these films, The Life of Jesus, was seen by Dada Saheb Phalke who was to become the father of the Indian film industry. Inspired, Phalke produced India’s first silent feature film “Raja Harishchandra”, a retelling of a well-known legend found in one of India’s epic religious poems. He bought the camera, wrote the script, directed the actors, edited and printed the film, and then traveled the country screening it in tents. As World War I ended, Hollywood quickly became the leader of the world’s film industry. Indian audiences were familiar with Charlie Chaplin, William S. Hart and Mary Pickford. By the early 1920’s, several production companies had formed in India. Most feature films were historical in nature or used classic stories from The Ramayana or The Mahabharata. India’s audience kept increasing. In 1931, ‘Alam Ara’ was released changing cinema history.  It was the first fully talking movie. Theatrical performances of the epics were filled with song, so it was natural for the Indian audience to expect songs in their films as well. Many story lines portrayed social injustices, included arranged marriage, dowry, widowhood and the caste system. By 1935, playback singers actually sang the songs while actors lip-synched them. The period from the late 1940’s to the 1960’s is considered the “Golden Age of Indian Cinema”. Bimal Roy and Satyajit Ray made films which shed light on the lives of the lower classes for the first time. Raj Kapoor made films that had universal appeal and he was sometimes referred to as the ‘Charlie Chaplin of India’. In the 1950’s, Guru Dutt portrayed an India undergoing rapid industrialization resulting in a culture clash between rural and an urban India. His films often presented a nostalgia for traditional values. During the 1970’s, Bollywood produced mainly romantic and action films. Manmohan Desai, a successful director, began making family-friendly “masala” films.  These films, which greatly appealed to the masses, and had a combination of song-and-dance numbers, action, romance, and melodrama.  In the 1980’s, films turned in the direction of gritty, crime dramas. The early 1990’s saw a return to family-friendly “masala”  films and the rise of megastars Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan who still rule the box office today.

100 Years Of Bollywood: Early Studios Of Indian Cinema: http://youtu.be/5hgs8qnH5oI

Bollywood at 100: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-22424264 NDTV has compiled a list of 20 of the greatest characters in Bollywood history: http://movies.ndtv.com/photos/indian-cinema-100-bollywood-s-20-best-characters-15056?pfrom=home-moviesspecial A brief history of espionage/thriller movies in Bollywood: http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/features/type/view/id/7811 Bollywood Casting Coups: http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/15/feb/news-which-was-bollywoods-first-casting-coup.asp Bollywood Road Movies: http://www.filmfare.com/features/one-for-the-road-9094-1.html#descArticle

The Many Firsts of Indian Cinema

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