- The effect of independence was also seen on films
- However, the partition also broke and damaged the industry.
- But after this Hindi cinema did not look back.
Indian Cinema growth on 75 years of independence: The history of cinema in our country is more than 100 years old. Where it started with silent films and then spoke films, then color cinema, then the entry of VFX and then the journey till today. But these days we are celebrating 75 years of independence. That’s why today we will talk about the journey of Indian cinema since independence. In these 75 years, the story, songs, music, screenplay, technology of the Indian film industry have all changed. At the same time, there is a big difference between the experience of watching movies and the plot of films. As far as cinematic storytelling is concerned, OTT is the new buzzword, even as it is still out of the grip of rules and censors. We don’t even know whether OTT cinema will survive or not. So let’s take a look at the journey of cinema after independence.
A look at the history of cinema before independence
At the turn of the 19th century, cinema became a phenomenon throughout Europe thanks to the exploits of the Lumiere brothers, who held private screenings of projected films in major cities in the world, such as Paris, London, New York, Montreal and Buenos Aires. The Lumiere films were finally screened in Bombay (now Mumbai) in July 1896. A few years later, an Indian photographer named Hiralal Sen made India’s first short film, ‘A Dancing Scene’, from scenes from a stage show, ‘The Flower of Persia’. This was followed by HS Bhatwdekar’s ‘The Wrestlers’ (1899) – India’s first documentary film recording a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Mumbai. In 1912, Dadasaheb Torne made a silent film titled ‘Shri Pundalik’ – a photographic recording of a popular Marathi play. A year later in 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke made India’s first feature-length motion picture, a silent film in Marathi titled ‘Raja Harishchandra’. After this the journey did not stop. From 1913 till 1947, along with Marathi, a lot of work was being done in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali cinema world. Indian cinema was known to the whole world when it gained international fame with Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen (1953), which won the Grand Prix and Prix International awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946 and 1954.
There was a lot of loss to the industry in partition
At first glance, if we look at the post-independence industry, for some time in the year 1947, it seemed that this industry would be closed. Because where till now there was an industry in the country, now after being two parts of the country, India and Pakistan, the effect of this division was clearly visible in the industry as well. The industry suffered huge losses in terms of actors, writers and technicians, as many artists decided to move to Pakistan. But the industry did not stop, it continued.
Cinema and ideas also got freedom
It would not be wrong to say that after independence, Indian cinema started catching up with the pace of development manifold. Realizing the loss caused by partition, the government took some steps. The industry benefited greatly from the nation building campaigns conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru. Because, many of these campaigns revolved around film stars, whose broad appeal was made by Nehru to promote what came to be known as the Nehruvian idea of India. It cannot be denied that we as a nation have come a long way in the last 75 years. We see the same difference in cinema as well. It seems that 75 years ago, not only the country but our cinema also got the freedom to express ideas and tell stories.
The impact of freedom struggle shown on films
National Award winning film critic, MK Raghavendra talks about post-independence Hindi cinema in his book ‘The Politics of Hindi Cinema in the New Millennium: Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian Nation’. He has written in it that after independence there was a deep impact on the imagination of Indians. The whole country was started tying a thread which was the Indian nation. Obviously, the few decades after independence saw the influence of Nehruvian socialism on Hindi cinema. However, if one tries to closely examine some of the most important films made during this period such as Raj Kapoor’s Awara (1951), Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen (1953), Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957) ), and Guru Dutt Ki Pyaasa (1957), it becomes clear that Hindi films of the period were not always in line with Nehru’s vision of India. But, it is also true that other important films of this era such as Andaz (1949), Naya Daur (1957), and Howrah Bridge (1958) succeeded in portraying the conflict between Nehru’s ideals of modern India – the good side of modernity. Stayed. The development of the country was shown through doctors, engineers etc and the bad side was shown through the characters and scenes of gamblers, cabaret dance etc.
The effect of big events of the country on cinema
Hindi cinema did not fail to show the major historical events happening in colonial India such as the painful truth of the Sino-Indian War, the enthusiasm of the Green Revolution in the country in the 1960s, the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. After this talk of increasing population and unemployment was seen in films in the 1960s. The films have shown the dangerous phase of 21 months of Emergency in the 1977 general elections. At the same time, the impact of the Khalistan movement was also seen on Indian cinema during the 1980s. But the 1990s can see the beginning of commercialization in cinema. This was the period when PV Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister and he ushered in a new era of economic liberalization with globalization.
Big change came in the 80-90s
Commercial Hindi in the late 80s and early 90s with blockbuster films such as Mr India (1987), Tezaab (1988), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Khiladi (1992) Cinema got stronger. Darr (1993), Mohra (1994), Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Karan Arjun (1995), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998), and Mann (1999) set new records at the box office. Many of these films starred Anil Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor and Kajol. At the turn of the 21st century, a new form of parallel cinema emerged with the advent of filmmakers such as Ram Gopal Varma, Madhur Bhandarkar and Anurag Kashyap. In whose cinema mainly criminal characters and the dark side of society were shown. The success of Satya (1998), Chandni Bar (2001), Company (2002), Black Friday (2004), and Sarkar (2005) is a testament to the changing tastes of Hindi film audiences.
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New 100 crore films in the new century
In this era, let’s see that after 2000, films adopted a new form. Now a new race had started which was the race to join the 100 crore club. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Namastey London (2007) started this and then this series continues till now. Subsequently, filmmakers like Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu Dhulia tried to change the test of the industry by making films like Bijli Ka Mandola (2013), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Paan Singh Tomar (2012). During this period Hindi cinema took a new leap in terms of revenue generation, but there was a stagnation in terms of creative thinking. The success of a Hindi film depends on whether it entered the ‘100 crore club’ or not.
today’s hindi cinema
Based on the new genre introduced by people such as Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vishal Bhardwaj and Aanand L Rai, Hindi films later started focusing on stories based in Hindi-speaking regions. It is true that there have been Hindi films like Miss Lovely (2012), Titli (2014), and Masaan (2015) which have made it to the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. But, our films are finding it increasingly difficult to make it to the world’s major film festivals like Cannes, Berlin and Venice? Even after ‘Lagaan’ no film has been nominated for Oscar.
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Web and OTT platform entry
The biggest turning point in Indian cinema came when several OTT platforms came to the country. Today, the country has such a diverse audience that the filmmakers are compelled to make different types of webseries and movies as per the choice of the audience. The COVID-19 pandemic has given a further boost to the OTT platform. Due to the indefinite closure of cinemas, more and more viewers started taking their entertainment dose from here. For many years, where cinema was laughing at its poor cousin television, now OTT has hit the silver screen. Now viewers can enjoy watching television/web series on OTT like 8 or 10 hours of movies continuously while sitting on their couch. Streaming agencies like Netflix and Amazon Prime have won hearts with Indian-origin shows like The Family Man, Special Ops, Sacred Games, Breathe: Into the Shadows, Inside Edge and, most recently, Ray. Most of these A-list actors are seen in the lead roles. It would not be wrong to say that OTT is proving to be a real game changer for the Indian entertainment industry at large. This is in stark contrast to some of the daily serials that we have become accustomed to watching on Indian television over the years. But there is an interesting flip side to this trend as well. Often the viewer is in such a hurry to finish the season that he often overlooks some important details. Perhaps, this is a price most viewers are willing to pay.
Indian cinema is the heart of the country
So it cannot be denied that Indian cinema has changed so much in the last 75 years that it is difficult to sum it up in a few words. At the same time, it is also true that Indian cinema touches every person living in the country, from his troubles to his relationships and success-failure. Now Indian cinema is getting recognition in foreign countries as well. Indian films earn hugely in countries like Canada, Japan and China. At the same time, Indian films also dominate the Cannes Film Festival.
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