The Path of Indian Cinema Coming Of Age

Indian Cinema popularly consists of films produced in India .Every year more than 1800 films are produced in India in various different Languages. This industry is segmented by languages the major one being Hindi Language. The Hindi Language film industry is known as Bollywood and is widely acclaimed all around the world. The other languages in which movies are produced in India are Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali etc.

Indian Cinema is a Global Enterprise reaching about 90 countries worldwide since more than 100 years. The first film that was a full length Indian feature film was Raja Harishchandra in the year 1913 directed and produced by Dadasaheb Phalke. This movie embarked the journey of the Indian Cinema which has reached to its current stage after successfully covering different eras of entertainment over these 100+ years

 Silent Films

Era: - 1890’s-1920’s

The first film steadily gained popularity due to which the tickets were availaible for the masses. Some additional comforts were availed with higher prices. This became a motivating factor for young producers to venture into this industry. Creative ideas emerged from the cultural and social life existing in India. Because of this global audiences and markets soon became aware of India’s Film Industry

Iconic Films

·         Raja Harishchandra (1913) by Dadasaheb Phalke

·         Lanka Dahan (1917) by Dadasaheb Phalke

·         Bhakta Vidur (1921)

·         Devdas (1928)


Bhakta Vidur (1921) was the first Indian Movie to be Banned. The main character was loosely based on Mahatma Gandhi who was a controversial figure at that point and the political references in the movie led to this ban. 

One of the last Silent films to be made was Pushpaka Vimana and was listed in CNN- IBN ‘S Hundred greatest films of all time


Era :- (1930’s- mid-1940’s)

Once the Silent Film’s got popular .There was a market available for talkies. Though the foreign films retained a large share in the market, movies in regional languages were also increasingly gaining demand. This transition was also made for the rise of a host of new operators, who would become the industry’s vanguard in the first talkie era.

The talkie studios brought along a new class of professionals and job possibilities in areas which were unknown in the silent era. Some of the areas where specialized skills were required in this era were

·         Dialogue Writing

·         Music Composition

·         Sound Recording

·         Shooting in artificial light

All of these in total increased the complexity of talkie production as compared to silent film advanced the film industry as a whole. Therefore Talkie era was not only a more expensive era than the silent era but also called for an overhauling of the existing systems of production and exhibition.

Iconic Films

·         Alam Ara (1931)

·         Shirin Farad (1931)

·         Indrasabha (1932)


·         The first Indian Talkie ‘Alam Ara’ was released on 14th March 1931 by Ardeshir Irani.

·         R.S.D Chaudhury produced Wrath in 1930, which was banned by the British Raj for its depiction of Indian actors as leaders during the Indian Independence Movement.

 Golden Age

Era: - Late 1940’s-1960’s

This period saw the emergence of the Parallel Cinema movement especially in Bengali Cinema. In this era legends of the Indian Film Industry were deeply influenced by India’s anti colonial struggle and independence so the movies were based on these ideas. This era saw movies that were realistic, socially relevant, and poetic which went on to become big blockbusters

Before the Golden Era movies rarely achieved commercial success . However, in this period movies like Awaara (1951) and Pyaasa (1957), and Mughal-e-Azam (1960) found immense commercial success and was also critically acclaimed.

This Era also witnessed great talents in Bollywood music like Mohammed Rafi, Kishor Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar

Iconic Films

·         Awaara(1951)

·         Birju Bawra(1952)

·         Shree 420 (1955)

·         Mother India (1957)

·         Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)


·         In this era Hindi Cinema gained a lot of popularity across the world . Raj Kapoor’s Movies were one of the first movies to be dubbed in many European languages ,and successfully screened in countries across Latin America , North Africa, and Southeast Asia.

·         Movies like Chetan Anand’s ‘Neecha Nagar’ (1946) and Bimal Roy’s ‘Do Bigha Zamin’(1953) were the ones that laid the foundation of this age

 Classic Bollywood

Era :-( 1971’s-1980s)

Realistic Parallel Cinema continued throughout the 1970’s. By the early 1970’s Hindi cinema was facing stagnation and during this time the screen writing duo Salim-Javed came and changed the scenario and established the genre of gritty, violent, with films such as Zanjeer(1973) and Deewar (1975)

Iconic Films

·         Pakeezah (1971)

·         Aradhana (1971)

·         Sholay (1975)

·         Amar Akbar Anthony( 1977)


·         By 1986 , India’s annual film output had increased from 741 films produced annually to 833 films annually , making India the world’s largest films producer

·         Yaadon Ki Baarat(1973), was identified as the first masala film  and the first quintessentially “Bollywood” Film

 New Bollywood

Era :-( 1990’s - Present)

By the late 1980s, Hindi Cinema experienced another period of stagnation with a decline in box office turnout and as the say innovation and creativity is the way out of stagnations. This turnaround came with a change in genre to romance. Yash Chopra’s ‘Chandni’ brought a new wave of interest in  Bollywood  for the people across the nation.

In the late 90’s, Parallel Cinema began a resurgence in Hindi Cinema, largely due to critical and commercial success. Since then there has been an upward graph in the business made in Bollywood has seen a lot of good and new talent coming in.

Iconic Films

·         Udaan (2010)

·         Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara(2011)

·         Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

·         Barfi (2012)

·         The Lunchbox (2013)

·         A Wednesday (2008)


·         Dangal(2016) movie became the highest grossing Indian film ever , and fifth highest grossing non – English film ever and the highest grossing sports film worldwide

·         Baahubali  (2016) is the first film to reach 100 crores in just 24 hours and has the highest opening for a dubbed film

·          ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge(1995)’ by Yash Raj Films is the Longest running film of all times. This movie is still shown after 24 years of its release date in Maratha Mandir Theatre in Mumbai

Over the years the popularity has grown immensely and many South Asian countries increasingly found Indian Cinema as more suited to their sensibilities that Western Cinema. There are Single Screens and Multiplex Screens across the country which gives great business to the entertainment industry throughout the year.


No. of Single Screens:-6780 (2017)

No. of Multiplexes:-2100(2016)

Per Capita:-9 per Million (2015)

Produced Feature Films:-2446 (2019)

Box Office Collections: - $2.32 Billion (2017)


Indian Film Industry produces diverse movies on issues ranging from cultural identity, nationalism, religion, sexuality, romance, love, violence and through these movies filmmakers seek to make informed interventions into deeply contentious and unresolved public debates. In all these years the Indian Cinema gave the people of India both a taste of fairy tale through its romances and reality through realistic and parallel cinema.

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