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The cinema of India consists of films produced across Indiamarker, including the cinematic culture of Mumbaimarker along with the cinematic traditions of states such as Andhra Pradeshmarker, Assammarker, Karnatakamarker, Keralamarker, Punjabmarker, Tamil Nadumarker and West Bengalmarker. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and the Middle East—where modest dressing and subdued sexuality of these films was found to be acceptable to the sensibilities of the audience belonging to these regions.Watson (2009) As cinema as a medium gained popularity in the country as many as 1,000 films in various languages of India were produced annually. Expatriates in countries such as the United Kingdommarker and the United Statesmarker continued to give rise to international audiences for Hindi-language films, some of which—according to the Encyclopædia Britannica (2009) entry on Bollywood—continued to carry "formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama, and larger-than-life heroes."Encyclopædia Britannica (2009), Bollywood. This is contrasted by the 'Parallel Cinema' movement, prominent in Bengali cinema, Malayalam cinema and other regional industries, known for its serious content, realism and naturalism.


In the 21st century, Indian cinema, along with the Americanmarker and Chinese film industries, became a global enterprise. Enhanced technology paved the way for upgradation from established cinematic norms of delivering product, radically altering the manner in which content reached the target audience. Indian cinema found markets in over 90 countries where films from India are screened. The country also participated in international film festivals. Indian filmmakers such as Shekhar Kapur, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta etc. found success overseas.Khanna, 158-159 The Indian government extended film delegations to foreign countries such as the United States of America and Japanmarker while the country's Film Producers Guild sent similar missions through Europe.

India is the world's largest producer of films, producing close to a thousand films annually.Khanna, "The Business of Hindi Films", 140 About 600 of the total films produced are in Telugu and Hindi, approximately 300 each, while the remaining are in other languages. However, Hindi films account for about half of the total revenue generated by cinema in India. The provision of 100% foreign direct investment has made the Indian film market attractive for foreign enterprises such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. Prominent Indian enterprises such as Zee, UTV and Adlabsmarker also participated in producing and distributing films. Tax incentives to multiplexes have aided the multiplex boom in India. By 2003 as many as 30 film production companies had been listed in the National Stock Exchange of India, making the commercial presence of the medium felt.

The Indian diaspora constitutes of millions of Indians overseas for which films are made available both through mediums such as DVDs and by screening of films in their country of residence wherever commercially feasible. These earnings, accounting for some 12% of the revenue generated by a mainstream film, contribute substantially to the overall revenue of Indian cinema, the net worth of which was found to be 1.3 billion US Dollars in 2000. Facilities for film production in the country include Ramoji Film City in Hyderabadmarker, the home of Telugu film industry, the largest film studio complex in the world as certified by Guinness World Records. Music in Indian cinema is another substantial revenue generator, with the music rights alone accounting for 4-5% of the net revenues generated by a film in India.


Following the screening of the Lumière moving pictures in Parismarker (1895) cinema became a sensation across Europe and by July 1896 the Lumière films had been in show in Bombay (now Mumbaimarker).Burra & Rao, 252 The first short films in India were directed by Hiralal Sen, starting with The Flower of Persia (1898). The first full-length motion picture in India was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke, a scholar on India's languages and culture, who brought together elements from Sanskrit epics to produce his Raja Harishchandra (1913). (Interestingly, the female roles in the film were played by male actors.)Burra & Rao, 253 The first Indian chain of cinema theaters was owned by the Calcuttamarker entrepreneur Jamshedji Framji Madan, who oversaw production of 10 films annually and distributed them throughout the Indian subcontinent.

During the early twentieth century cinema as a medium gained popularity across India's population and its many economic sections. Tickets were made affordable to the common man at a low price and for the financially capable additional comforts meant additional admission ticket price. Audiences thronged to cinema halls as this affordable medium of entertainment was available for as low as an anna (4 paisa) in Bombay. The content of Indian commercial cinema was increasingly tailored to appeal to these masses. Young Indian producers began to incorporate elements of India's social life and culture into cinema.Burra & Rao, 252-253 Others brought with them ideas from across the world. This was also the time when global audiences and markets became aware of India's film industry.

Ardeshir Irani released Alam Ara, the first Indian talking film, on 14 March 1931. Following the inception of 'talkies' in India some film stars were highly sought after and earned comfortable incomes through acting. As sound technology advanced the 1930s saw the rise of music in Indian cinema with musicals such as Indra Sabha and Devi Devyani marking the beginning of song-and-dance in India's films. Studios emerged across major cities such as Chennaimarker, Kolkata, and Mumbai as film making became an established craft by 1935, exemplified by the success of Devdas, which had managed to enthrall audiences nationwide.Burra & Rao, 254 Bombay Talkies came up in 1934 and Prabhat Studios in Punemarker had begun production of films meant for the Marathi language audience. Filmmaker R. S. D. Choudhury produced Wrath (1930), banned by the British Raj in India as it depicted actors as Indian leaders, an expression censored during the days of the Indian independence movement.

The Indian Masala film—a slang used for commercial films with song, dance, romance etc.—came up following the second world war. South Indian cinema gained prominence throughout India with the release of S.S. Vasan's Chandralekha. During the 1940s cinema in South India accounted for nearly half of India's cinema halls and cinema came to be viewed as an instrument of cultural revival. The partition of India following its independence divided the nation's assets and a number of studios went to the newly formed Pakistanmarker. The strife of partition would become an enduring subject for film making during the decades that followed.

Following independence the cinema of India was inquired by the S.K. Patil Commission.Rajadhyaksa, 679 S.K. Patil, head of the commission, viewed cinema in India as a 'combination of art, industry, and showmanship' while noting its commercial value. Patil further recommended setting up of a Film Finance Corporation under the Ministry of Finance. This advice was later taken up in 1960 and the institution came into being to provide financial support to talented filmmakers throughout India.Rajadhyaksa, 684 The Indian government had established a Films Division by 1949 which eventually became one of the largest documentary film producers in the world with an annual production of over 200 short documentaries, each released in 18 languages with 9000 prints for permanent film theaters across the country.Rajadhyaksa, 681-683

The Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), an art movement with a communist inclination, began to take shape through the 1940s and the 1950s. A number of realistic IPTA plays, such as Bijon Bhattacharya's Nabanna in 1944 (based on the tragedy of the Bengal famine of 1943), prepared the ground for the solidification of realism in Indian cinema, exemplified by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's Dharti Ke Lal (Children of the Earth) in 1946. The IPTA movement continued to emphasize on reality and went on to produce Mother India and Pyaasa, among of India's most recognizable cinematic productions.Rajadhyaksa, 681

Golden Age of Indian cinema

Following India's independence, the period from the late 1940s to the 1960s are regarded by film historians as the 'Golden Age' of Indian cinema. Some of the most critically acclaimed Indian films of all time were produced during this period. In commercial Hindi cinema, examples of famous films at the time include the Guru Dutt films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and the Raj Kapoor films Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955). These films expressed social themes mainly dealing with working-class urban life in India; Awaara presented the city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city life. Some of the most famous epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at the time, including Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960). V. Shantaram's Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) is believed to have inspired the Hollywood film The Dirty Dozen (1967). Madhumati (1958), directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, popularized the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture. Other mainstream Hindi filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt.

While commercial Indian cinema was thriving, the period also saw the emergence of a new Parallel Cinema movement, mainly led by Bengali cinema. Early examples of films in this movement include Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar (1946), Ritwik Ghatak's Nagarik (1952), and Bimal Roy's Two Acres of Land (1953), laying the foundations for Indian neorealism and the "Indian New Wave". Pather Panchali (1955), the first part of the The Apu Trilogy (1955-1959) by Satyajit Ray, marked his entry in Indian cinema.Rajadhyaksa, 683 The Apu Trilogy won major prizes at all the major international film festivals and led to the 'Parallel Cinema' movement being firmly established in Indian cinema. Its influence on world cinema can also be felt in the "youthful coming-of-age dramas that have flooded art houses since the mid-fifties" which "owe a tremendous debt to the Apu trilogy". Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak went on to direct many more critically-acclaimed 'art films', and they were followed by other acclaimed Indian independent filmmakers such as Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Kaul and Buddhadeb Dasgupta. During the 1960s, Indira Gandhi's intervention during her reign as the Information and Broadcasting Minister of India further led to production of off-beat cinematic expression being supported by the official Film Finance Corporation.

The cinematographer Subrata Mitra, who made his debut with Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy, also had an importance influence on cinematography across the world. One of his most important techniques was bounce lighting, to recreate the effect of daylight on sets. He pioneered the technique while filming Aparajito (1956), the second part of The Apu Trilogy. Some of the experimental techniques which Satyajit Ray pioneered include photo-negative flashbacks and X-ray digressions while filming Pratidwandi (1972). Ray's 1967 script for a film to be called The Alien, which was eventually cancelled, is also widely believed to have been the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's E.T. (1982). Some of Ritwik Ghatak's films also have strong similarities to later famous international films, such as Ajantrik (1958) resembling the Herbie films (1967-2005) and Bari Theke Paliye (1958) resembling François Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959).

Other regional industries also had their 'Golden Age' during this period. Commercial Tamil cinema experienced a growth in the number of commercially successful films produced. Some of the most famous Tamil film personalities at the time included M. G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, M. N. Nambiyar, Asokan and Nagesh. Marathi cinema also ushered in a 'Golden Age' at this time, with some of its directors such as V. Shantaram later playing in instrumental role in mainstream Hindi cinema's 'Golden Age'.

Ever since Chetan Anand's social realist film Neecha Nagar won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival, Indian films were frequently in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker for nearly every year in the 1950s and early 1960s, with a number of them winning major prizes at the festival. Satyajit Ray also won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Aparajito (1956), the second part of The Apu Trilogy, and the Golden Bear and two Silver Bears for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival. Ray's contemporaries, Ritwik Ghatak and Guru Dutt, were overlooked in their own lifetimes but had belatedly generated international recognition much later in the 1980s and 1990s. Ray is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema, while Dutt and Ghatak are also among the greatest filmmakers of all time. In 1992, the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll ranked Ray at #7 in its list of "Top 10 Directors" of all time, while Dutt was ranked #73 in the 2002 Sight & Sound greatest directors poll.

A number of Indian films from this era are often included among the greatest films of all time in various critics' and directors' polls. A number of Satyajit Ray films appeared in the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll, including The Apu Trilogy (ranked #4 in 1992 if votes are combined), The Music Room (ranked #27 in 1992), Charulata (ranked #41 in 1992) and Days and Nights in the Forest (ranked #81 in 1982). The 2002 Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll also included the Guru Dutt films Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool (both tied at #160), the Ritwik Ghatak films Meghe Dhaka Tara (ranked #231) and Komal Gandhar (ranked #346), and Raj Kapoor's Awaara, Vijay Bhatt's Baiju Bawra, Mehboob Khan's Mother India and K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam all tied at #346. In 1998, the critics' poll conducted by the Asian film magazine Cinemaya included The Apu Trilogy (ranked #1 if votes are combined), Ray's Charulata and The Music Room (both tied at #11), and Ghatak's Subarnarekha (also tied at #11). In 1999, The Village Voice top 250 "Best Film of the Century" critics' poll also included The Apu Trilogy (ranked #5 if votes are combined). In 2005, The Apu Trilogy and Pyaasa were also featured in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies list.

Modern Indian cinema

Some filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic Parallel Cinema throughout the 1970s,Rajadhyaksa, 685 alongside Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Gautam Ghose in Bengali cinema; Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G. Aravindan in Malayalam cinema; and Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta in Hindi cinema. However, the 'art film' bent of the Film Finance Corporation came under criticism during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema.Rajadhyaksa, 688 The 1970s did, nevertheless, see the rise of commercial cinema in form of enduring films such as Sholay (1975), which solidified Amitabh Bachchan's position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released in 1975. Another important film from 1975 was Deewar, directed by Yash Chopra and written by Salim-Javed. A crime film pitting "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan", portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan, it was described as being “absolutely key to Indian cinema” by Danny Boyle.

Commercial cinema further grew throughout the 1980s and the 1990s with the release of films such as Mr India (1987), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Tezaab (1988), Chandni (1989), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Baazigar (1993), Darr (1993), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), many of which starred Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan.

The 1990s also saw a surge in the national popularity of Tamil cinema as films directed by Mani Ratnam captured India's imagination. Such films included Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995). Ratnam's earlier film Nayagan (1987), starring Kamal Haasan, was included in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies, alongside four earlier Indian films: Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy (1955-1959) and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957). Another Tamil director S. Shankar who made waves through his Kadhalan very famous for its songs ,dance and graphics which was big at that time in India. The South Indian film industry not only released cinema with national appeal but also featured multicultural music, which found appreciation among the Indian audience.Rajadhyaksa, 688-689 Some Tamil filmi composers such as A. R. Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja have since acquired a large national, and later international, following. Tabarana Kathe, a Kannada cinema was screened at Various Film Festivals including Tashkent, Nantes, Tokyo and the Film Festival of Russia. Rahman's debut soundtrack for Roja was included in Time Magazine's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time, and he would later go on to win two Academy Awards for his international Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

Long after the Golden Age of Indian cinema, South India's Malayalam cinema of Kerala experienced its own 'Golden Age' in the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of the most acclaimed Indian filmmakers at the time were from the Malayalam industry, including Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, T. V. Chandran and Shaji N. Karun. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who is often considered to be Satyajit Ray's spiritual heir, directed some of his most acclaimed films during this period, including Elippathayam (1981) which won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, as well as Mathilukal (1989) which won major prizes at the Venice Film Festival. Shaji N. Karun's debut film Piravi (1989) won the Camera d'Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, while his second film Swaham (1994) was in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.

In the late 1990s, 'Parallel Cinema' began experiencing a resurgence in Hindi cinema, largely due to the critical and commercial success of Satya (1998), a low-budget film based on the Mumbai underworld, directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap. The film's success led to the emergence of a distinct genre known as Mumbai noir, urban films reflecting social problems in the city of Mumbaimarker. Later films belonging to the Mumbai noir genre include Madhur Bhandarkar's Chandni Bar (2001) and Traffic Signal (2007), Ram Gopal Varma's Company (2002) and its prequel D (2005), Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday (2004), and Irfan Kamal's Thanks Maa (2009). Other art film directors active today include Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose, Sandip Ray, Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh in Bengali cinema; Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun and T. V. Chandran in Malayalam cinema; Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sudhir Mishra and Nandita Das in Hindi cinema; Mani Ratnam and Santosh Sivan in Tamil cinema; and Deepa Mehta, Anant Balani, Homi Adajania, Vijay Singh and Sooni Taraporevala in Indian English cinema.


Prasads IMAX Theatre houses at hyderabad, the largest IMAX-3D in the world.
MG Road Gurgaon, the longest street of malls, restaurants, cafes et cetera in Asia
There have generally been six major influences that have shaped the conventions of Indian popular cinema. The first was the ancient Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana which have exerted a profound influence on the thought and imagination of Indian popular cinema, particularly in its narratives. Examples of this influence include the techniques of a side story, back-story and story within a story. Indian popular films often have plots which branch off into sub-plots; such narrative dispersals can clearly be seen in the 1993 films Khalnayak and Gardish. The second influence was the impact of ancient Sanskrit drama, with its highly stylized nature and emphasis on spectacle, where music, dance and gesture combined "to create a vibrant artistic unit with dance and mime being central to the dramatic experience." Sanskrit dramas were known as natya, derived from the root word nrit (dance), characterizing them as spectacular dance-dramas which has continued in Indian cinema. The third influence was the traditional folk theatre of India, which became popular from around the 10th century with the decline of Sanskrit theatre. These regional traditions include the Yatra of Bengalmarker, the Ramlila of Uttar Pradeshmarker, and the Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadumarker. The fourth influence was Parsi theatre, which "blended realism and fantasy, music and dance, narrative and spectacle, earthy dialogue and ingenuity of stage presentation, integrating them into a dramatic discourse of melodrama. The Parsi plays contained crude humour, melodious songs and music, sensationalism and dazzling stagecraft." These influences are evident in the masala film genre that began with Manmohan Desai in the 1970s.

The fifth influence was Hollywoodmarker, where musical were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s, though Indian filmmakers departed from their Hollywood counterparts in several ways. "For example, the Hollywood musicals had as their plot the world of entertainment itself. Indian filmmakers, while enhancing the elements of fantasy so pervasive in Indian popular films, used song and music as a natural mode of articulation in a given situation in their films. There is a strong Indian tradition of narrating mythology, history, fairy stories and so on through song and dance." In addition, "whereas Hollywood filmmakers strove to conceal the constructed nature of their work so that the realistic narrative was wholly dominant, Indian filmmakers made no attempt to conceal the fact that what was shown on the screen was a creation, an illusion, a fiction. However, they demonstrated how this creation intersected with people's day to day lives in complex and interesting ways." The final influence was Western musical television, particularly MTV, which has had an increasing influence since the 1990s, as can be seen in the pace, camera angles, dance sequences and music of recent Indian films. An early example of this approach was in Mani Ratnam's Bombay (1995).

In contrast to mainstream Indian popular cinema, Indian Parallel Cinema was influenced by a combination of Indian theatre (particularly Sanskrit drama), Indian literature (particularly Bengali literature), and European cinema (particularly Italian neorealism and French poetic realism). Satyajit Ray cited Italian filmmaker Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948) and French filmmaker Jean Renoir's The River (1951), which he assisted, as influences on his debut film Pather Panchali (1955). Besides the influence of European cinema and Bengali literature, Ray is also indebted to the Indian theatrical tradition, particularly the rasa theory of classical Sanskrit drama. The complicated doctrine of rasa "centers predominantly on feeling experienced not only by the characters but also conveyed in a certain artistic way to the spectator. The duality of this kind of a rasa imbrication" shows in The Apu Trilogy. Bimal Roy's Two Acres of Land (1953) was also influenced by De Sica's Bicycle Thieves and in turn paved the way for the Indian New Wave, which began around the same time as the French New Wave and the Japanese New Wave.

Regional industries

Assamese cinema

The Assamese language film industry traces its origins works s of revolutionary visionary Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala, who was also a distinguished poet, playwright, composer and freedom fighter. He was instrumental in the production of the first Assamese film Joymati in 1935, under the banner of Critrakala Movietone. Although the beginning of the 21st century has seen Bollywood-style Assamese movies hitting the screen, the industry has not been able to compete in the market, significantly overshadowed by the larger industries such as Bollywood .

Bengali cinema

The Bengali language cinematic tradition of Tollygungemarker in West Bengalmarker has had reputable filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen among its most acclaimed.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 138 Recent Bengali films that have captured national attention include Rituparno Ghosh's Choker Bali, starring Aishwarya Rai.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 139 Bengali filmmaking also includes Bangla science fiction films and films that focus on social issues.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 138-140 In 1993, the Bengali industry's net output was 57 films.

The history of cinema in Bengalmarker dates back to the 1890s, when the first "bioscope" were shown in theatres in Calcuttamarker. Within a decade, the first seeds of the industry was sown by Hiralal Sen, considered a stalwart of Victorian era cinema when he set up the Royal Bioscope Company, producing scenes from the stage productions of a number of popular shows at the Start Theatre, Minerva Theatre, Classic Theatre. Following a long gap after Sen's works, Dhirendra Nath Ganguly (Known as D.G) established Indo British Film Co, the first Bengali owned production company, in 1918. However, the first Bengali Feature film, Billwamangal, was produced in 1919, under the banner of Madan Theatre. Bilat Ferat was the IBFC's first production in 1921. The Madan Theatres production of Jamai Shashthi was the first Bengali talkie.

In 1932, the name "Tollywood" was coined for the Bengali film industry due to Tollygunge rhyming with "Hollywoodmarker" and because it was the center of the Indian film industry at the time. It later inspired the name "Bollywood", as the Mumbai-based industry later overtook Tollygunge as the center of the Indian film industry, and many other Hollywood-inspired names. The 'Parallel Cinema' movement began in the Bengali film industry in the 1950s. A long history has been traversed since then, with stalwarts such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak and others having earned international acclaim and securing their place in the history of film.

Bhojpuri cinema

Bhojpuri language films predominantly cater to people who live in the regions of Biharmarker and eastern Uttar Pradeshmarker. These films also have a large audience in the cities of Delhimarker and Mumbaimarker due to migration to these metros from the Bhojpuri speaking region. Besides India, there is a large market for these films in other bhojpuri speaking countries of the West Indiesmarker, Oceania, and South America. Bhojpuri language film's history begins in 1962 with the well-received film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ("Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari"), which was directed by Kundan Kumar. Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as Bidesiya ("Foreigner," 1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) and Ganga ("Ganges," 1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

The industry experienced a revival in 2001 with the super hit Saiyyan Hamar ("My Sweetheart," directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom. This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ("Priest, tell me when I will marry," 2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ("My father-in-law, the rich guy," 2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry's rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs. Although a smaller industry compared to other Indian film industries, the extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City.


The Hindi language film industry of Mumbaimarker—also known as Bollywood—is the largest and most popular branch of Indian cinema. The term "Bollywood" is sometimes incorrectly applied to Indian cinema as a whole, especially outside South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. Bollywood initially explored issues of caste and culture in films such as Achhut Kanya (1936) and Sujata (1959).Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 10-11 International visibility came to the industry with Raj Kapoor's Awara.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 10 Bollywood grew during the 1990s with the release of as many as 215 films in 1991. With Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Bollywood registered its commercial presence in the Western world.

In 1995 the Indian economy began showing sustainable annual growth, and Bollywood, as a commercial enterprise, grew at a growth rate of 15% annually. With growth in commercial appeal the earnings of known Bollywood stars such as Shahrukh Khan reached 30 million rupees per film by the year 2000. Female stars such as Madhuri Dixit, too, earned as much as 12.5 million rupees for a film. Many actors signed contracts for simultaneous work in 3-4 films. Institutions such as the Industrial Development Bank of India also came forward to finance Bollywood films. A number of magazines such as Filmfare,Stardust, Cineblitz etc. became popular.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 11

Kannada cinema

A painting of Rajkumar in a streetboard in Bangalore
Kannada industry is referred as "Sandalwood". Bangalore is center for Kannada film making.

Kannada films industry has given to world of Cinema "Dr.Rajkumar" who performed almost all kind of roles- Gods to detective, college professor to plociemen. And he is also an excellent singer who got a National award for singing. He sung almost 3000 songs in movies and albums which includes folk song, romantic songs, and devotional songs. There might be very few actors in the world Cinema to match his "caliber".

Kannada industry has also witnessed great directors like Girish Kasaravalli (highest National award winner), Puttanna Kanagal, G.V.Iyer, Girish Karnad, T.S. Nagabharana, P Sheshadri etc

Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish, Ravichandran, Ramesh, Ananthnag, Shankar Nag, Prabhakar, Upendra, Sudeep, Darshan, Shivaraj Kumar, Puneet Rajkumar are famous names in the role of "Hero"Kalpana, Bharathi, Jayanthi, Pandari bai, B Sarojadevi, Sudharani, Malashri, Tara, Umashri, Ramya are few names among the finest "actress"

G.K. Venkatesh, Vijaya Bhaskar, TG lingappa, Rajan-Nagendra, Hamsalekha, Gurukiran are few names of "Music Directors"

In the Indian Parallel Cinema, Kannada cinema too has great reputation along with the Bengali Movies and Malayalam Movies. The films like "Samskara" (based on U R ananthmurthy novel), Chomana Dudi by B. V. Karanth, "Tabarana Kathe" have created new trends in Indian Cinema. Samskara, Vamshavruksha, Paniyamma, Kadu Kudure, Hamsageethe, Chomana Dudi, Accident, Ghata Shradhdha, Akramana, Mooru Dhaarigalu, Tabarana Kathe, Bannadha Vesha, Mane, Kraurya, Taayi Saaheba, Dweepa are some of the national award and state award wining Kannada parallel movies. Pushpak/Pushpaka Vimana one of the Speehless movie created record in the world Cinema industry.

Time to Time Kannada industry has adjusted itself to changing world hence can able to survive with some new experiments. (Films by Puttanna KanagaL, Girish Kasaravalli, initial films by Upendra were few examples for new experiments in Indian Cinema)

As applicable to all films industry in India,nativity of Kannada industry is getting affected by "Remake" films in recent times.Kannda industry (Karnataka) has also contributed in terms of actors to other industry.Guru Dutt, Prakash Rai (Raj), Arjun Sarja, Rajnikanth, Shilpa Shetty, Aishwarya Rai, Sunil Shetty have Kannada/Karnataka origin.

Malayalam cinema

The Malayalam film industry comprises commercial as well as art films. The industry plays a major role in the Indian film industry by making thougtful films, and setting a stage for versatile actors like Mammootty, Mohanlal ,Thilakan,Bharat Gopi and Sreenivasan.The Malayalam films find audiences in India's Keralamarker state, which has the high literacy rates and an established tradition of theater.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 134 Malayalam film industry has a tradition in artistic cinema, exemplified by the works of Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G. Aravindan as well as a tradition in commercial cinema with stars such as Mammooty and Mohanlal acting in films which drew masses of fans.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 133-134. Many actors, including Mohanlal and Mammootty have played many roles in the Hindi Film industry and received critical acclaim for their performances. In 1993 the Malayalam industry's net output was 71 films.. Although Malayalam films' output per year is lesser when compared to other regional films such as Telugu and Tamil, it has more content and realism in the scripts. Unlike the Hindi film industry, which created superstars, Malayalam cinema was based on creative scripts being executed by extremely talented actors. The Golden era of Malayalam films was from 1980 to 1995 which resulted in many outstanding films with emergence of new stars such as Mammootty, Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu, Thilakan and Murali to name a few. It also saw revivial of some revolutionary directors such as Bharathan, Padmarajan, Sathyan Anthikad, Priyadarsan, A. K. Lohithadas , Sreenivasan and Blessy.

Marathi cinema

Some of the earliest Indian filmmakers, such as Dadasaheb Phalke belonged to the state of Maharashtramarker, which is where Marathi cinema finds its audience.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 136 Marathi cinema is marked by escapist trends which tend to cater to the common moviegoers and provide affordable entertainment. Art cinema finds proponents in Jabbar Patel, Amol Palekar etc.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 137 In 1993 the Marathi industry's net output was 35 films. However, this number declined to 25 in 1994 and finally to as low as 10 films per year in 1996.

Oriya cinema

The Oriya Film Industry refers to the Bhubaneswarmarker and Cuttackmarker based Oriya language film industry. Sometimes called Ollywood a portmanteau of the words Oriya and Hollywoodmarker, although the origins of the name are disputed.The first Oriya talkie Sita Bibaha was made by Mohan Sunder Deb Goswami in 1936. Mohammed Mohsin started the revolution in the oriya film industry by not only securing the essence of the oriya culture but also bringing in the newness in the was the film industry was watching oriya movies. His movies heralded in the golden era of the oriya film industry by bringing in freshness to Oriya movies.

Punjabi cinema

K.D. Mehra made the first Punjabi film Sheila (also known as Pind di Kudi). Baby Noor Jehan was introduced as an actress and singer in this film. Sheila was made in Calcutta and released in Lahore, the capital of Punjab; it ran very successfully and was a hit across the province. Due to the success of this first film many more producers started making Punjabi films. As of 2009, Punjabi cinema has produced between 900 and 1,000 movies. The average number of releases per year in the 1970s was nine; in the 1980s, eight; and in the 1990s, six. In 1995, the number of films released was 11; it plummeted to seven in 1996 and touched a low of five in 1997. Since 2000s the Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year featuring bigger budgets, home grown stars as well as bollywood actors of Punjabi descent taking part.

Tamil cinema

The Tamil language film industry, known as Tamil cinema, is one of the largest film industries in India in terms of quality and technology, and is based in the Kodambakkammarker district of Chennaimarker, Tamil Nadumarker. Tamil films are screened by the Tamil diaspora all over the world and people of all states of South India. Tamil films have good portrayal of Tamil culture which has subdued sexual expressions and moderate glamour, unlike its northern counterpart.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 132 Tamil cinema has been a force in the local politics of the Tamil Nadu state with some of the industry's personalities, such as M. G. Ramachandran, M. Karunanidhi, and J. Jayalalitha, having held political offices.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 132-133 With the establishment of the Madras film Institute the quality of Tamil cinema improved during the 1980s and it further gained international exposure with the works of filmmakers like Mani Ratnam.Today, Tamil films are distributed to various theatres around the world such as in Sri Lanka, Singapore, South Korea, Malayasia, Mauritius, South Africa, Western Europe, North America, and other significant Tamil diaspora regions.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 133 In 1993 the Tamil industry's net output was 168 films. Tamil stars such as Kamal Hassan have been successful nationally and Rajinikanth has huge fans and one of the highest paid actor in India . Great music directors like Ilaiyaraja, A.R.Rahman are from Tamil film Industries.

Telugu cinema

The Telugu language film industry of Andhra Pradeshmarker is currently the largest in India in terms of number of movies produced in a year. The state of Andhra Pradeshmarker has the highest number of cinema halls in Indiamarker. In 2006, the Telugu film industry produced the largest number of films in India, with about 245 films produced that year. The largest film studio complex in the world - Ramoji Film City is in the outskirts of Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh.

The film industry of India comprises several smaller regional industries, each catering largely to a specific language audience.Gokulsing & Dissanayake, 129 However, a significant degree of regional interaction is seen between the various regions as filmmakers and actors from one region often contribute to films meant for another region.

Genres and styles

Masala films

Masala is a style of Indian cinema, especially in Bollywood and South Indian films, in which there is a mix of various genres in one film. For example, a film can portray action, comedy, drama, romance and melodrama all together. Many of these films also tend to be musicals, including songs filmed in picturesque locations, which is now very common in Bollywood films. Plots for such movies may seem illogical and improbable to unfamiliar viewers. The genre is named after the masala, a term used to describe a mixture of spices in Indian cuisine.

Parallel cinema

Parallel Cinema, also known as Art Cinema or the Indian New Wave, is a specific movement in Indian cinema, known for its serious content, realism and naturalism, with a keen eye on the social-political climate of the times. This movement is distinct from mainstream Bollywood cinema and began around the same time as the French New Wave and Japanese New Wave. The movement was initially led by Bengali cinema (which has produced internationally acclaimed filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, and others) and then gained prominence in the other film industries of Indiamarker. Some of the films in this movement have garnered commercial success, successfully stradling art and commercial cinema. An early example of this was Bimal Roy's Two Acres of Land (1953), which was both a commercial success and a critical success, winning the International Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. The film's success paved the way for the Indian New Wave.

The most famous Indian "neo-realist" was the Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, closely followed by Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Girish Kasaravalli. Ray's most famous films were The Apu Trilogy, consisting of Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959). The three films won major prizes at the Cannesmarker, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, and are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.

Film music

Music in Indian cinema is a substantial revenue generator, with the music rights alone accounting for 4-5% of the net revenues generated by a film in India. The major film music companies of India are Saregama, Sony Music etc. Commercially, film music accounts for 48% India's net music sales. A film in India may have many choreographed songs spread throughout its length.

The demands of a multicultural, increasingly globalized Indian audience often led to a mixing of various local and international musical traditions. Local dance and music nevertheless remain a time tested and recurring theme in India and have made their way outside of India's borders with its diaspora. Playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar drew large crowds with national and international film music stage shows. The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 21st saw extensive interaction between artists from India and the western world. Artists from Indian diaspora blended the traditions of their heritage to those of their country to give rise rise to popular contemporary music.Zumkhawala-Cook, 312

Global discourse

Indians during the colonial rule bought film equipment from Europe. The British funded wartime propaganda films during the second world war, some of which showed the Indian army pitted against the axis powers, specifically the Empire of Japanmarker, which had managed to infiltrate into India. One such story was Burma Rani, which depicted civilian resistance offered to Japanese occupation by the British and Indians present in Myanmar. Pre-independence businessmen such as J. F. Madan and Abdulally Esoofally traded in global cinema.

Indian cinema's early contacts with other regions became visible with its films making early inroads into Russiamarker, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Chinamarker. Mainstream Hindi film stars like Raj Kapoor gained international fame across Asia and Eastern Europe. Indian films also appeared in international fora and film festivals. This allowed 'Parallel' Bengali filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray to achieve worldwide fame, with his films gaining success among European, American and Asian audiences. Ray's work subsequently had a worldwide impact, with filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, James Ivory, Abbas Kiarostami, Elia Kazan, François Truffaut, Steven Spielberg, Carlos Saura, Jean-Luc Godard, Isao Takahata, Gregory Nava, Ira Sachs and Wes Anderson being influenced by his cinematic style, and many others such as Akira Kurosawa praising his work. The "youthful coming-of-age dramas that have flooded art houses since the mid-fifties owe a tremendous debt to the Apu trilogy". Subrata Mitra's cinematographic technique of bounce lighting also originates from The Apu Trilogy. Since the 1980s, some previously overlooked Indian filmmakers such as Ritwik Ghatak and Guru Dutt have posthumously gained international acclaim.

Many Asian and 'Third World' countries increasingly came to find Indian cinema as more suited to their sensibilities than Western cinema. Jigna Desai holds that by the 21st century Indian cinema had managed to become 'deterritorialized', spreading over to the many parts of the world where Indian diaspora was present in significant numbers, and becoming an alternative to other international cinema.

Indian cinema has more recently begun influencing Western musical films, and played a particularly instrumental role in the revival of the genre in the Western world. Baz Luhrmann stated that his successful musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001) was directly inspired by Bollywood musicals. The critical and financial success of Moulin Rouge! renewed interest in the then-moribund Western musical genre, subsequently fueling a renaissance of the genre. Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was also directly inspired by Indian films, and is considered to be a "homage to Hindi commercial cinema".

Also see BBC article [48535]


Award Since Awarded by
National Film Awards 1954 Directorate of Film Festivals, Government of India
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards 1937 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, Government of West Bengal
Filmfare Awards 1954 Filmfare
Star Screen Awards 1995 STAR TV
Zee Cine Awards 1998 Zee Entertainment Enterprises

Other awards include the International Indian Film Academy Awards, International Tamil Film Awards, Bollywood Movie Awards, the Nandi Awards and the Global Indian Film Awards.

Film Institutes in India

Several institutes, both government run and private, provide formal education in various aspects of filmmaking. A few of them include: Note: This is not an exhaustive list.


  1. Khanna, 155
  2. Khanna, 158
  3. Khanna, 159
  4. Khanna, 156
  5. Khanna, 156
  6. Potts, 74
  7. Potts, 75
  8. A city within a city, Ramoji Film City (RFC) claims to be the largest, most comprehensive, and most professionally planned film production center in the world....With more than seven thousand five hundred employees working in twenty-nine departments, RFC has the capacity to accommodate the production of twenty international films at any one time and cater to at least forty Indian films simultaneously - Kumar, 132.
  9. Maker of innovative, meaningful movies. The Hindu, 15 June 2007
  10. Do Bigha Zamin at filmreference
  12. Joymoti (1935) [1],
  13. Lakshmi B. Ghosh, A rare peep into world of Assamese cinema [2], The Hindu, 2006
  14. IMDB page on Jamai Shashthi: first Bengali talkie
  15. IMDB
  17. "Move over Bollywood, Here's Bhojpuri," BBC News Online:
  20. Potts, 75
  22. Telugu film industry enters new era
  23. Trends and genres
  24. The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made By THE FILM CRITICS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York Times,2002.
  25. Thompson, 74
  26. Velayutham, 174
  27. Desai, 38
  28. Desai, 37


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