* Prof. Pradeep Chennavajjula
is working as the Dean, ICFAIan Business School, Mumbai
Cinema - A Piece of History: Part - II
| . It was just
a millenium back... and at the turn of this century, when the country
was poised for major social and political reforms. No one across the
world ever thought that this country can ever revive the political
onslaught on their heritage and culture. However, a new entertainment
form dawned in India-the Cinema, that upheld the values and sentiments
that we have been protecting helping us to propagate the same for
the next generations. Here's a brief look at what happened in the
past with Indian Cinema and how it grew.
The first exposure to motion pictures which India received was in
1896, when the Lumiere Brothers' Chinematographe unveiled six soundless
short films at Watson Hotel, Esplanade Mansion, Bombay on July 7.
And the first exposing of celluloid in camera by an Indian and its
consequent screening took place in 1899, when Harishchandra Bhatvadekar
(Save Dada) shot two short films and exhibited them under Edison's
projecting kinetoscope. Hiralal Sen and F.B. Thanawalla were two other
Indian pioneers engaged in the production of short films in Calcutta
and Bombay in 1900.
Around 1902, J.F. Madan and Abdullah Esoofally launched their career
with Bioscope shows of imported short films. In 1912 , N.G.. Chitre
and R.G. Torney made a silent feature film Pundalik which was released
on May 18, and it was half British in its make. Dhundiraj Govind Phalke,
more generally known as Dada Saheb Phalke was responsible for the
production of India's first fully indigenous silent feature film Raja
Harishchandra which heralded the birth of the Indian film industry.
The film had titles in Hindi and English and was released on May 3,
1913 at the Coronation Cinema, Bombay. In 1917, Bengal saw the birth
of its first feature film- Satyabadi Raja Harishchandra made by Madan's
Elphinstone Bioscope Company. In Madras, the first feature film of
South India Keechaka Vadham was made by Nataraja Mudaliar in 1919.
After stepping into 1920, the Indian cinema gradually assumed the
shape of a regular industry. The industry also came within the purview
of the law. The new decade saw the arrival of many new companies and
film makers. Dhiren Ganguly (England Returned), Baburao Painter (Savkari
Pash), Suchet Singh (Sakuntala), Chandulal Shah (Guna Sundari), Ardershir
Israni, and V. Santharam were the prominent film makers of the twenties.
The most remarkable things about the birth of the sound film in India
is that it came with a bang and quickly displaced the silent movies.
The first Indian talkie Alam Ara produced by the Imperial film company
and directed by Ardershir Irani was released on March 14, 1931 at
the Majestic Cinema in Bombay; The talkie had brought revolutionary
changes in the whole set up of the industry. The year 1931 marked
the beginning of the talking ear in Bengal and South India. The first
talkie films in Bengali (Jumai Shasthi), Telugu (Bhakta Prahlad) and
Tamil (Kalidass) were released in the same year. Point to be noted
is that Telugu Cinema has been pioneer in the usage of technology
and trends involved and the same is evidenced till date.
The thirties is recognised as the decade of social protests in the
history of Indian Cinema. Three big banners-Prabhat, Bombay Talkies
and New Theatres gave the lead in making serious but gripping sand
entertaining films for all classes of the wide audience. A number
of films making a strong plea against social injustice were also made
in this period like V.Santharam's Duniya Na Mane, Aadmi and Padosi,
Franz Osten's Achut Kanya, Damle & Fatehlal's Sant Thukaram, Mehboob's
Watan, Ek hi Raasta and Aurat.
For the first time Ardeshir Irani attempted a colour picture in 1937
with Kisan Kanya. The decade also witnessed the release of the first
talkie films in Marathi (Ayodhiyecha Raja 1932), Gujarathi (Narasinh
Mehta-32), Kannada (Dhurvkumar-34); Oriya (Sita Bibaha-34); Assamese
(Joymati-35); Punjabi (Sheila-35) and Malayalam(Balan-38).
The decade during which the second world was fought and Indian independence
won, was a momentous one for cinematography all over India. Some memorable
films were produced during the forties such as Shantharam's Dr. Kotnis
Ki Amar Kahani, Mehboob's Roti, Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar, Uday
Shanker's Kalpana, Abbas's Dharti Ke Lal, Sohrab Modi's Sikander,
Pukar and Prithvi Vallabh, J.B.H. Wadia's Court Dancer, S.S. Vasan's
Chandralekha, Vijay Bhatt's Bharat Milap and Ram Rajya, Rajkapoor's
Barsaat and Aag.
be continued .....
Here for the Part - I
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