Cinema of India

Indian Cinema
Number of screens 12,000 single screens (2013)
1200 multiplex screens (2013)[1]
  Per capita 0.9 per 100,000 (2010)[2]
Produced feature films (2014)[3]
Total 1,969
Number of admissions (2015)[4]
Total 52,000,000,000
Gross box office (2015)[5]
Total US$1.6 billion

The cinema of India consists of films produced across India.[6] Cinema as a medium has gained immense popularity in the country and as many as 1,600 films in various languages of India are produced annually.[3][7] Indian films have also come to be followed throughout South Asia, the Greater Middle East, Southeast Asia and other countries. Dadasaheb Phalke is known as the father of Indian cinema.[8][9][10][11] The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was instituted in his honour, by the Government of India in 1969, and is the most prestigious and coveted award in Indian cinema.[12]

In the 20th century, Indian cinema, along with the Hollywood and Chinese film industries, became a global enterprise.[13] As of 2013, in terms of annual film output, India ranks first, followed by Nollywood,[3][14] Hollywood and China.[15] In 2012, India produced 1,602 feature films.[3] The Indian film industry reached overall revenues of $1.86 billion (93 billion) in 2011. This is projected to rise to $3 billion (200 billion) in 2016.[16] In 2015, India had a total box office of US$1.6 billion, the fourth largest in the world outside North America.[5] Enhanced technology paved the way for upgrading from established cinematic norms of delivering product, altering the manner in which content reached the target audience. Visual effects based, super hero science fiction, and epic films like Enthiran, Baahubali, Krrish[17] emerged as blockbusters.[13] Indian cinema found markets in over 90 countries where films from India are screened.[18] The Indian government extended film delegations to foreign countries such as the United States of America and Japan while the country's Film Producers Guild sent similar missions through Europe.[19] The 2015 epic film Rudhramadevi is the first Indian 3D historical film.[20]

The provision of 100% foreign direct investment has made the Indian film market attractive for foreign enterprises such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures[21][22] and Warner Bros.[23] Indian enterprises such as AVM Productions, Prasad's Group, Sun Pictures, PVP Cinemas, Zee, UTV, Suresh Productions, Eros Films, Ayngaran International, Pyramid Saimira, Aascar Films and Adlabs also participated in producing and distributing films.[23] Tax incentives to multiplexes have aided the multiplex boom in India.[23] 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.[23]

The South Indian film industry defines the four film cultures of South India as a single entity. They are the Tamil, the Telugu, the Malayalam and the Kannada industries. Although developed independently over a long period, gross exchange of film performers and technicians as well as globalisation helped to shape this new identity.[24][25]

The Indian diaspora consists of millions of Indians overseas for which films are made available both through media such as DVDs and by screening of films in their country of residence wherever commercially feasible.[26] 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 US$1.3 billion in 2000.[27] 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.[27]


Advertisement in The Times of India of 25 May 1912 announcing the screening of the first feature film of India, Shree Pundalik by Dadasaheb Torne

Following the screening of the Lumière moving pictures in London (1895), cinema became a sensation across Europe and by July 1896 the Lumière films had been in show in Bombay.[28] In the next year a film presentation by one Professor Stevenson featured a stage show at Calcutta's Star Theatre. With Stevenson's encouragement and camera Hiralal Sen, an Indian photographer, made a film of scenes from that show, namely The Flower of Persia (1898).[29] The Wrestlers (1899) by H. S. Bhatavdekar showing a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Bombay was the first film ever to be shot by an Indian. It was also the first Indian documentary film.

The first Indian film released in India was Shree Pundalik a silent film in Marathi by Dadasaheb Torne on 18 May 1912 at 'Coronation Cinematograph', Bombay.[30][31] Some have argued that Pundalik does not deserve the honour of being called the first Indian film because it was a photographic recording of a popular Marathi play, and because the cameraman—a man named Johnson—was a British national and the film was processed in London.[32][33]

A scene from Raja Harishchandra (1913), first full-length Indian motion picture
Producer-director-screenwriter Dadasaheb Phalke, the Father of Indian Cinema.[8][9][10][11]
AVM Studios in Chennai, India's oldest surviving film studio

The first full-length motion picture in India was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke, Dadasaheb is the pioneer of Indian film industry a scholar on India's languages and culture, who brought together elements from Sanskrit epics to produce his Raja Harishchandra (1913), a silent film in Marathi. The female roles in the film were played by male actors.[34] The film marked a historic benchmark in the film industry in India. Only one print of the film was made and shown at the Coronation Cinematograph on 3 May 1913. It was a commercial success and paved the way for more such films. The first silent film in Tamil, Keechaka Vadham was made by R. Nataraja Mudaliar in 1916.[35]

The first Indian chain of cinema theatres, Madan Theatre was owned by the Parsi entrepreneur Jamshedji Framji Madan, who oversaw production of 10 films annually and distributed them throughout the Indian subcontinent starting from 1902.[34] He founded Elphinstone Bioscope Company in Calcutta. Elphinstone merged into Madan Theatres Limited in 1919 which brought many of Bengal's most popular literary works to the stage. He also produced Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra in 1917, a remake of Phalke's Raja Harishchandra (1913).

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu was an Indian artist and a pioneer in the production of silent Indian movies and talkies.[36] Starting from 1909, he was involved in many aspects of Indian cinema's history, like travelling to different regions in Asia, to promote film work. He was the first to build and own cinema halls in Madras. In South India, the first Tamil talkie Kalidas which released on 31 October 1931, barely 7 months after India's first talking picture Alam Ara[37] Nataraja Mudaliar also established South India's first film studio in Madras.[38]

During the early twentieth century cinema as a medium gained popularity across India's population and its many economic sections.[28] Tickets were made affordable to the common man at a low price and for the financially capable additional comforts meant additional admission ticket price.[28] Audiences thronged to cinema halls as this affordable medium of entertainment was available for as low as an anna (one-sixteenth of a rupee) in Bombay.[28] The content of Indian commercial cinema was increasingly tailored to appeal to these masses.[28] Young Indian producers began to incorporate elements of India's social life and culture into cinema.[39] Others brought with them ideas from across the world.[39] This was also the time when global audiences and markets became aware of India's film industry.[39]

Publicity Photo of K. L. Saigal

In 1927, the British Government, to promote the market in India for British films over American ones, formed the Indian Cinematograph Enquiry Committee. The ICC consisted of three British and three Indians, led by T. Rangachari, a Madras lawyer.[40] This committee failed to support the desired recommendations of supporting British Film, instead recommending support for the fledgling Indian film industry. Their suggestions were shelved.

Ardeshir Irani released Alam Ara which was the first Indian talkie film, on 14 March 1931.[34] Irani later produced the first south Indian talkie film Kalidas directed by H. M. Reddy released on 31 October 1931.[41][42] Jumai Shasthi was the first Bengali talkie. Following the inception of 'talkies' in India some film stars were highly sought after and earned comfortable incomes through acting.[34] Actor of the time, Chittor V. Nagaiah, was one of the first multilingual film actor, singer, music composer, producer and directors in India. He was known as the Paul Muni of India in the media.[43][44]

In 1933, East India Film Company has produced its first Indian film Savitri. Based on a noted stage play by Mylavaram Bala Bharathi Samajam, the film was directed by C. Pullaiah casting stage actors Vemuri Gaggaiah and Dasari Ramathilakam as Yama and Savithri, respectively and shot in Calcutta on a budget of 75,000.[45] The blockbuster film has received an honorary diploma at Venice Film Festival.[46] The first film studio in South India, Durga Cinetone was built in 1936 by Nidamarthi Surayya in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.[47] 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.[34] Studios emerged across major cities such as Madras, Calcutta and Bombay as film making became an established craft by 1935, exemplified by the success of Devdas, which had managed to enthrall audiences nationwide.[48] In 1937, Kisan Kanya directed by Moti B. Gidwani was released. It is the first colour film made in India.[49] 1940 film, Vishwa Mohini, is the first Indian film, depicting the Indian movie world. The film was directed by Y. V. Rao and scripted by Balijepalli Lakshmikanta Kavi.[50]

Swamikannu Vincent, who had built the first cinema of South India in Coimbatore, introduced the concept of "Tent Cinema" in which a tent was erected on a stretch of open land close to a town or village to screen the films. The first of its kind was established in Madras, called "Edison's Grand Cinemamegaphone". This was due to the fact that electric carbons were used for motion picture projectors.[51] Bombay Talkies came up in 1934 and Prabhat Studios in Pune had begun production of films meant for the Marathi language audience.[48] 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.[34] Sant Tukaram, a 1936 film based on the life of Tukaram (1608–50), a Varkari Sant and spiritual poet, was screened at the 1937 edition of Venice Film Festival and thus became the first Indian film to be screened at an international film festival. The film was subsequently adjudged as one of the three best films of the year in the World.[52] In 1938, Gudavalli Ramabrahmam, has co-produced and directed the social problem film, Raithu Bidda, which was banned by the British administration in the region, for depicting the uprise of the peasantry among the Zamindars during the British raj.[53][54]

The Indian Masala film—a slang used for commercial films with song, dance, romance etc.—came up following World War II.[48] South Indian cinema gained prominence throughout India with the release of S.S. Vasan's Chandralekha.[48] 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.[48] The partition of India following its independence divided the nation's assets and a number of studios went to the newly formed Pakistan.[48] The strife of partition would become an enduring subject for film making during the decades that followed.[48]

After Indian independence the cinema of India was inquired by the S. K. Patil Commission.[55] S.K. Patil, head of the commission, viewed cinema in India as a 'combination of art, industry, and showmanship' while noting its commercial value.[55] Patil further recommended setting up of a Film Finance Corporation under the Ministry of Finance.[56] This advice was later taken up in 1960 and the institution came into being to provide financial support to talented filmmakers throughout India.[56] The Indian government had established a Films Division by 1948 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 theatres across the country.[57]

The Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), an art movement with a communist inclination, began to take shape through the 1940s and the 1950s.[55] 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.[55] The IPTA movement continued to emphasize on reality and went on to produce Mother India and Pyaasa, among India's most recognizable cinematic productions.[58]

Golden Age of Indian cinema

Satyajit Ray is recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.[59][60][61][62][63][64]

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.[65][66][67] Some of the most critically acclaimed Indian films of all time were produced during this period.

This period saw the emergence of a new Parallel Cinema movement, mainly led by Bengali cinema.[68] Early examples of films in this movement include Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar (1946),[69] Ritwik Ghatak's Nagarik (1952),[70][71] and Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zameen (1953), laying the foundations for Indian neorealism[72] and the "Indian New Wave".[73] Pather Panchali (1955), the first part of The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959) by Satyajit Ray, marked his entry in Indian cinema.[74] 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".[75]

The cinematographer Subrata Mitra, who made his debut with Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy, also had an important 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.[76] Some of the experimental techniques which Satyajit Ray pioneered include photo-negative flashbacks and X-ray digressions while filming Pratidwandi (1972).[77] 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).[78][79][80] 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, Mani Kaul, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, Girish Kasaravalli and Buddhadeb Dasgupta.[68] 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.[56]

Commercial Hindi cinema also began thriving, with examples of acclaimed films at the time include the Guru Dutt films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) (Paper Flowers) 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.[68] Some epic films 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,[81] and K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960).[82] V. Shantaram's Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) is believed to have inspired the Hollywood film The Dirty Dozen (1967).[83] Madhumati (1958), directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, popularised the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture.[84] Other mainstream Hindi filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt.

Ever since Chetan Anand's social realist film Neecha Nagar won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival in 1946,[69] Indian films were frequently in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival 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.[85] 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.[85][86] Ray is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema,[87] with Dutt[88] and Ghatak.[89] In 1992, the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll ranked Ray at No. 7 in its list of "Top 10 Directors" of all time,[90] while Dutt was ranked No. 73 in the 2002 Sight & Sound greatest directors poll.[88]

Sivaji Ganesan became India's first actor to receive an international award when he won the "Best Actor" award at the Afro-Asian film festival in 1960 and was awarded the title of Chevalier in the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 1995.[91] Tamil cinema is also influenced by Dravidian politics,[92] with prominent film personalities like C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa becoming Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu.[93]

A number of Indian films from this era are often included among the greatest films of all time in various critics' and directors' polls. At this juncture, south cinema saw the production works based on the epic Mahabharata, such as Mayabazar, listed by IBN Live's 2013 Poll as the greatest Indian film of all time,[94] and Narthanasala received awards for best production design and best actor to S. V. Ranga Rao, at the Indonesian Film Festival.[95] A number of Satyajit Ray films appeared in the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll, including The Apu Trilogy (ranked No. 4 in 1992 if votes are combined),[96] The Music Room (ranked No. 27 in 1992), Charulata (ranked No. 41 in 1992)[97] and Days and Nights in the Forest (ranked No. 81 in 1982).[98] 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.[99] In 1998, the critics' poll conducted by the Asian film magazine Cinemaya included The Apu Trilogy (ranked No. 1 if votes are combined), Ray's Charulata and The Music Room (both tied at #11), and Ghatak's Subarnarekha (also tied at #11).[89]

Modern Indian cinema

Some filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic Parallel Cinema throughout the 1970s,[100] alongside Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Gautam Ghose in Bengali cinema; K Balachandar, Balu Mahendra, Bharathiraaja and Mani Ratnam in Tamil cinema, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun, John Abraham and G. Aravindan also Bharathan and Padmarajan in Malayalam cinema ; Nirad Mohapatra in Oriya cinema; K. N. T. Sastry and B. Narsing Rao in Telugu cinema; Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Ram Gopal Varma and Vijaya Mehta in Hindi cinema.[68] 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.[101]

The 1970s saw the rise of Hindi commercial cinema in form of enduring films such as Anand (1971), Amar Prem (1971) and Kati Patang (1972), establishing Rajesh Khanna as the first Superstar of Indian Cinema. Later, in mid 70s, action films like Zanjeer (1974) and Sholay (1975), solidified Amitabh Bachchan's position as a lead actor.[101] The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma made on a shoe-string budget was also released in 1975 and became a mega success on box office and a cult.[101] 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.[102] 1979 Telugu film, Sankarabharanam, which dealt with the revival of Indian classical music, has won the Prize of the Public at the Besancon Film Festival of France in the year 1981.[103] 1970 Kannada film, Samskara directed by Pattabhirama Reddy, pioneered the parallel cinema movement in south Indian cinema. The film won Bronze Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.[104]

Many Tamil-language films have premiered or have been selected as special presentations at various film festivals across the globe, such as Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal, Vasanthabalan's Veyyil and Ameer Sultan's Paruthiveeran. Kanchivaram (2009) was selected to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tamil films have been a part of films submitted by India for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language on eight occasions, next only to Hindi.[105] Mani Ratnam's Nayagan (1987) was included in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies list.[106] In 1991, Marupakkam directed by K.S. Sethu Madhavan, became the first Tamil film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, the feat was repeated by Kanchivaram in 2007.[107]

Malayalam cinema of Kerala regarded as one of the best Indian film genres 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.[108] Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who is often considered to be Satyajit Ray's spiritual heir,[109] 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.[110]

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.[111] Commercial Malayalam cinema also began gaining popularity with the action films of Jayan, a popular stunt actor whose success was short-lived when he died while filming a dangerous helicopter stunt.

Commercial Hindi cinema further grew throughout the 1980s and the 1990s with the release of films such as Ek Dooje Ke Liye (1981), Mr India (1987), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Tezaab (1988), Chandni (1989), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Baazigar (1993), Darr (1993),[101] Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1998), Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya (1998) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), many of which starred Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Sridevi, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. At this juncture, Shekhar Kapur's cult classic, Bandit Queen (1994) which received international recognition, has also garnered high criticism by Arundhati Roy in her film review entitled "The Great Indian Rape-Trick". However, the film highlighted the revival of feminist themes.[112][113]

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 crime film based on the Bombay underworld, written and directed by Ram Gopal Varma, with screenplay by Anurag Kashyap. The film's success led to the emergence of a distinct genre known as Mumbai noir,[114] urban films reflecting social problems in Bombay city.[115] Later films made on organised crime in Bombay include Madhur Bhandarkar's Chandni Bar (2001) and Traffic Signal (2007), Ram Gopal Varma's Company- Ajay Devgn (2002) and its prequel D (2005), Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday (2004).

Vishal Bhardwaj's 2014 film Haider, the third instalment of Indian Shakespearean Trilogy after Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006),[116] won the People's Choice Award at the 9th Rome Film Festival in the Mondo Genere category making it the first Indian film to achieve this feat.[117] Other art film directors active today include Mrinal Sen, Mir Shaani, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose, Sandip Ray and Aparna Sen in Bengali cinema; Puttanna Kanagal, Dore Bhagavan, Siddalingaiah in Kannada; Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun and T.V. Chandran in Malayalam cinema; Nirad Mohapatra in Oriya cinema; Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal,[68] Mira Nair, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sudhir Mishra and Nandita Das in Hindi cinema; K.N.T. Sastry, B. Narsing Rao, Akkineni Kutumba Rao, Deva Katta in Telugu cinema and Santosh Sivan in Tamil cinema. Deepa Mehta, Anant Balani, Homi Adajania, Vijay Singh and Sooni Taraporevala have garnered recognition in Indian English cinema.

Global discourse

Indians during the colonial rule bought film equipment from Europe.[39] The British funded wartime propaganda films during World War II , some of which showed the Indian army pitted against the axis powers, specifically the Empire of Japan, which had managed to infiltrate into India.[118] One such story was Burma Rani, which depicted civilian resistance offered to Japanese occupation by the British and Indians present in Myanmar.[118] Pre-independence businessmen such as J. F. Madan and Abdulally Esoofally traded in global cinema.[34]

Indian cinema's early contacts with other regions became visible with its films making early inroads into the Soviet Union, Middle East, Southeast Asia,[119] and China. Mainstream film stars like Raj Kapoor, Rajnikanth, Rajesh Khanna, Sridevi, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan gained international fame across Asia[120][121][122] and Eastern Europe.[123][124] Indian films also appeared in international fora and film festivals.[119] This allowed 'Parallel' Bengali filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray to achieve worldwide fame, with his films gaining success among European, American and Asian audiences.[125] Ray's work subsequently had a worldwide impact, with filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese,[126] James Ivory,[127] Abbas Kiarostami, Elia Kazan, François Truffaut,[128] Steven Spielberg,[78][79][80] Carlos Saura,[129] Jean-Luc Godard,[130] Isao Takahata,[131] Gregory Nava, Ira Sachs and Wes Anderson[132] being influenced by his cinematic style, and many others such as Akira Kurosawa praising his work.[133] The "youthful coming-of-age dramas that have flooded art houses since the mid-fifties owe a tremendous debt to the Apu trilogy".[75] Subrata Mitra's cinematographic technique of bounce lighting also originates from The Apu Trilogy.[76] Ray's film Kanchenjungha (1962) also introduced a narrative structure that resembles later hyperlink cinema.[134] Since the 1980s, some previously overlooked Indian filmmakers such as Ritwik Ghatak[135] and Guru Dutt[136] have posthumously gained international acclaim.

Tamil films have enjoyed consistent popularity among populations in South East Asia and many parts of the world. Since Chandralekha, Muthu was the second Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese (as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja[137]) and grossed a record $1.6 million in 1998.[138] In 2010, Enthiran grossed a record $4 million in North America.

Many Asian and South Asian countries increasingly came to find Indian cinema as more suited to their sensibilities than Western cinema.[119] 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.[139]

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.[140] The critical and financial success of Moulin Rouge! renewed interest in the then-moribund Western musical genre, subsequently fuelling a renaissance of the genre.[141] Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was also directly inspired by Indian films,[102][142] and is considered to be a "homage to Hindi commercial cinema".[143] Other Indian filmmakers are also making attempts at reaching a more global audience, with upcoming films by directors such as Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Jahnu Barua, Sudhir Mishra and Pan Nalin.[144]

Indian Cinema was also recognised at the American Academy Awards. Three Indian films, Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Lagaan (2001), were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Indian winners of the Academy Awards include Bhanu Athaiya (costume designer), Satyajit Ray (filmmaker), A. R. Rahman (music composer), Resul Pookutty (sound editor) and Gulzar (lyricist), Cottalango Leon and Rahul Thakkar Sci-Tech Award.[145]

Netflix have also entered India.[146]


Victoria Public Hall, is a historical building in Chennai, named after Victoria, Empress of India. It served as a theatre in the late 19th century and the early 20th century.
Prasads IMAX Theatre located at Hyderabad, is the world's largest 3D-IMAX screen, and also the most attended screen in the world.[147][148][149]
Ramoji Film City located in Hyderabad, holds Guinness World Record as the World's largest film studio.[150]
PVR Cinemas is one of the largest cinema chains in India

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 stylised 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), characterising them as spectacular dance-dramas which has continued in Indian cinema.[151] The Rasa method of performance, dating back to ancient Sanskrit drama, is one of the fundamental features that differentiate Indian cinema from that of the Western world. In the Rasa method, empathetic "emotions are conveyed by the performer and thus felt by the audience," in contrast to the Western Stanislavski method where the actor must become "a living, breathing embodiment of a character" rather than "simply conveying emotion." The rasa method of performance is clearly apparent in the performances of popular Hindi film actors like Amitabh Bachchan Shahrukh Khan. It is also evident in the nationally acclaimed Hindi films like Rang De Basanti (2006) starring Aamir Khan in lead role,[152] and internationally acclaimed Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray.[153]

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 West Bengal, the Ramlila of Uttar Pradesh, Yakshagana of Karnataka, 'Chindu Natakam' of Andhra Pradesh, and the Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu.

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."[151] All of these influences are clearly evident in the masala film genre that was popularised by Manmohan Desai's films in the 1970s and early 1980s, particularly in Coolie (1983), and to an extent in more recent critically acclaimed films such as Rang De Basanti.[152]

The fifth influence was Hollywood, where musicals 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."[154] 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).[155]

Like mainstream Indian popular cinema, Indian Parallel Cinema was also influenced also by a combination of Indian theatre (particularly Sanskrit drama) and Indian literature (particularly Bengali literature), but differs when it comes to foreign influences, where it is more influenced by European cinema (particularly Italian neorealism and French poetic realism) rather than Hollywood. 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 method 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.[153] 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.[73] Ray known as one of the most important influences to Parallel Cinema, was depicted as an auteur (Wollen). The focus of the majority of his stories portrayed the lower middle class and the unemployed (Wollen). It wasn't until the late 1960s that Parallel Cinema support grew (Wollen).[156]


Some Indian films are known as "multilinguals," having been filmed in similar but non-identical versions in different languages. This was done in the 1930s. According to Rajadhyaksha and Willemen in the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (1994), in its most precise form, a multilingual is

a bilingual or a trilingual [that] was the kind of film made in the 1930s in the studio era, when different but identical takes were made of every shot in different languages, often with different leading stars but identical technical crew and music.[157]:15

Rajadhyaksha and Willemen note that in seeking to construct their Encclopedia, it they often found it "extremely difficult to distinguish multilinguals in this original sense from dubbed versions, remakes, reissues or, in some cases, the same film listed with different titles, presented as separate versions in different languages ... it will take years of scholarly work to establish definitive data in this respect."[157]:15

Regional industries

Films are made in many cities and regions in India including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu, Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Konkan (Goa), Kerala, Maharashtra, Meitei, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Bombay among others.

Table: Breakdown by languages
Breakdown of 2016 Indian feature films certified by the Central Board of Film Certification sorted by languages.[158]
Note: This table indicates the number of films certified by the CBFC's regional offices in nine cities. The actual number of films produced may be less.
LanguageNo. of films
Hindi 340 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 340
Tamil 291 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 291
Telugu 275 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 275
Kannada 204 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 204
Marathi 180 (digital) and 1 (celluloid), total of 181
Malayalam 168 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 168
Bengali 149 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 149
Bhojpuri 67 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 67
Punjabi 45 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 45
Gujarati 45 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 45
Odia 41 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 41
Assamese 20 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 20
Rajasthani 10 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 10
Chattisgarhi 10 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 10
Tulu 10 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 10
Konkani 6 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 6
English 5 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 5
Haryanvi 4 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 4
Maithali 3 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 3
Sindhi 3 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 3
Urdu 3 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 3
Bodo 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Others 1 each
Total 1902 (digital) and 1 (celluloid), total of 1903

Assamese cinema

Main article: Cinema of Assam
First Assamese motion picture – Joymati filmed in 1935

The Assamese language film industry traces its origins works 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[159] in 1935, under the banner of Critrakala Movietone. Due to the lack of trained technicians, Jyotiprasad, while making his maiden film, had to shoulder the added responsibilities as the script writer, producer, director, choreographer, editor, set and costume designer, lyricist and music director. The film, completed with a budget of 60,000 rupees was released on 10 March 1935. The picture failed miserably. Like so many early Indian films, the negatives and complete prints of Joymati are missing. Some effort has been made privately by Altaf Mazid to restore and subtitle whatever is left of the prints. [3] Despite the significant financial loss from Joymati, the second picture Indramalati was filmed between 1937 and 1938 finally released in 1939. The beginning of the 21st century has seen Bollywood-style Assamese movies hitting the screen.[160]

Bengali cinema

A scene from Dena Paona, 1931 – first Bengali talkie
Main article: Cinema of West Bengal

The Bengali language cinematic tradition of Tollygunge located in West Bengal has had reputable filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen among its most acclaimed.[161] Recent Bengali films that have captured national attention include Rituparno Ghosh's Choker Bali, starring Aishwarya Rai.[162] Bengali filmmaking also includes Bengali science fiction films and films that focus on social issues.[163] In 1993, the Bengali industry's net output was 57 films.[164]

The history of cinema in Bengal dates back to the 1890s, when the first "bioscopes" were shown in theatres in Calcutta. Within five years, the first seeds of the industry were 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 Star Theatre, Calcutta, 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. Madan Theatres production of Jamai Shashthi was the first Bengali talkie.[165]

In 1932, the name "Tollywood" was coined for the Bengali film industry due to Tollygunge rhyming with "Hollywood" and because it was the centre of the Indian film industry at the time. It later inspired the name "Bollywood", as Bombay later overtook Tollygunge as the center of the Indian film industry, and many other Hollywood-inspired names.[166] 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 and actors like Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee were the greatest actor in Bengali film industry.

Brijbhasha cinema

Braj Bhasha language films present Brij culture to people who is mainly a rural tongue currently, predominant in the nebulous Braj region centred around Mathura, Agra, Aligarh & Hathras in Western Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur & Dholpur in Rajasthan. It is the predominant language in the central stretch of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab in Uttar Pradesh.The very first Brij Bhasha movie produced in India was film Brij Bhoomi (1982) which was a success throughout the country.[167] made by actor,producer & director Shiv Kumar in banner of "Ocaon Movies",[168] Later time Brij Bhasha cinema has seen the production of some films like Jamuna Kinare, Brij Kau Birju, Bhakta Surdas, Jesus.[169][170] Presents culture of Brij in films Krishna Tere Desh Main(Hindi), Kanha Ki Braj Bhumi,[171]Brij ki radha dwarika ke shyam[172]Bawre Nain.,[173]

Bhojpuri cinema

Main article: Bhojpuri cinema

Bhojpuri language films predominantly cater to people who live in the regions of western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh and also have a large audience in Delhi and Bombay due to migration of Bhojpuri speakers to these metros. Besides India, there is a large market for these films in other Bhojpuri speaking countries of the West Indies, Oceania, and South America.[174] 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.[175] 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.[176] 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.[177] 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[178] and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City.[179]

Chhattisgarhi cinema

Main article: Chhollywood

Chhollywood was born in 1965 with the first Chhattisgarhi film Kahi Debe Sandesh ("In Black and White") directed and produced by Manu Nayak was released.[180] It was a story of intercaste love and it is said that former Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi watched the movie. Naidu wrote the lyrics for the film,[181] and two songs of the movie were sung by Indian singer Mohammad Rafi. Then came the next, Niranjan Tiwari's directed Ghar Dwar in 1971, produced by Vijay Kumar Pandey. However, both movies did not do well at the box office, and disappointed the producers. No movie was produced for nearly 30 years thereafter.[182]

Gujarati cinema

Main article: Gujarati cinema

Before the arrival of talkies, there were several silent films which were closely related with Gujarati people and culture before advent of talkies. Many film directors, producers and actors who are associated with silent films were Gujarati and Parsi. There were twenty leading film company and studios owned by Gujaratis between 1913 and 1931. They were mostly located in Bombay (now Mumbai). There were at least forty-four leading Gujarati directors during this period.[183]

The Gujarati cinema dates back to 9 April 1932, when the first Gujarati film Narsinh Mehta was released.[183][184][185] Leeludi Dharti (1968) was the first colour film of Gujarati cinema.[186] After flourishing through the 1960s to 1980s, the industry saw a decline. The industry is revived in recent times. The film industry has produced more than one thousand films since its inception.[187] In 2005, the Government of Gujarat announced 100% entertainment tax exemption for Gujarati films.[188]

Gujarati cinema is chiefly based on scripts from mythology to history and social to political. Since its origin Gujarati cinema has experimented with stories and issues from the Indian society. The films are generally targeted at rural audience but after recent revival also caters audience with urban subjects.[183]

Hindi cinema

Main article: Bollywood
Amitabh Bacchan has been a popular Bollywood actor for over 45 years.[189]

The Hindi language film industry of Bombay — also known as[190] Bollywood — is the largest and most powerful branch that controls Indian cinema.[191] Hindi cinema initially explored issues of caste and culture in films such as Achhut Kanya (1936) and Sujata (1959).[192] International visibility came to the industry with Raj Kapoor's Awara and later in Shakti Samantha's Aradhana starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore.[193] Hindi cinema grew during the 1990s with the release of as many as 215 films.

In 1995 the Indian economy began showing sustainable annual growth, and Hindi cinema, as a commercial enterprise, grew at a growth rate of 15% annually.[26] The salary of lead stars increased greatly. Many actors signed contracts for simultaneous work in 3–4 films.[27] Institutions such as the Industrial Development Bank of India also came forward to finance Hindi films.[27] A number of magazines such as Filmfare, Stardust, Cineblitz, etc., became popular.[194]

The audience's reaction towards Hindi cinema is distinctive with involvement in the films by audience's clapping, singing, reciting familiar dialogue with the actors.[195]

Kannada cinema

Main article: Cinema of Karnataka

Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan are the cultural icon of Kannada Cinema.

Kannada film industry, also referred as Sandalwood, is based in Bengaluru and caters mostly to the state of Karnataka. Rajkumar was eminent in Kannada film industry. In his career, he performed versatile characters and sung hundreds of songs for film and albums. Other notable Kannada actors,actresses include Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish, Ravichandran, Girish Karnad, Prakash Raj, Shankar Nag, Ananth Nag, Upendra, Darshan, Sudeep, Ganesh, Shivaraj Kumar, Puneet Rajkumar, Kalpana, Bharathi, Jayanthi, Pandari Bai, Tara, Umashri and Ramya.

Film directors from the Kannada film industry like Girish Kasaravalli, P.Sheshadri have garnered national recognition. Other noted directors include Puttanna Kanagal, G. V. Iyer, Girish Karnad, T. S. Nagabharana, Kesari Harvoo, Upendra, Yograj Bhat, Soori. G.K. Venkatesh, Vijaya Bhaskar, Rajan-Nagendra, Hamsalekha, Gurukiran, Anoop Seelin and V. Harikrishna are other noted music directors.

Kannada cinema, along with Bengali and Malayalam films, contributed simultaneously to the age of Indian parallel cinema. Some of the influential Kannada films in this genre are Samskara (based on a novel by U. R. Ananthamurthy), Chomana Dudi by B. V. Karanth, Tabarana Kathe, Vamshavruksha, Kadu Kudure, Hamsageethe, Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu, Accident, Maanasa Sarovara, Ghatashraddha, Tabarana Kathe, Mane, Kraurya, Thaayi Saheba, Dweepa, Munnudi, Atithi, Beru, Thutturi, Vimukthi, Bettada Jeeva, Bharath Stores.

The Government Film and Television Institute, Bangalore (formerly a part of S.J.Polytechnic) is believed as the first government institute in India to start technical courses related to films. Legends like V K Murthy, Govind Nihalani etc. passed out from this institute.[196]

Konkani cinema

Main article: Konkani cinema

Konkani language films are mainly produced in Goa. It is one of the smallest film industries in India with just 4 films produced in 2009.[197] Konkani language is spoken mainly in the states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka and to a smaller extent in Kerala. The first full length Konkani film was Mogacho Anvddo, released on 24 April 1950, and was produced and directed by Jerry Braganza, a native of Mapusa, under the banner of Etica Pictures.[198][199] Hence, 24 April is celebrated as Konkani Film Day.[200] Karnataka is the hub of a good number of Konkani speaking people. There is an immense Konkani literature and art in Karnataka. Several films have been noted among the Karnataka Konkani folks. Kazar (English: Marriage) is a 2009 Konkani film directed by Richard Castelino and produced by Frank Fernandes. Konkani Movie 'Ujvaadu' – Shedding New Light on Old Age Issues. The director and producer of the Konkani film "Ujvaadu", Kasaragod Chinna, whose stage name is Sujeer Srinivas Rao. The pioneering Mangalorean Konkani Film is Mog Ani Maipas.

Malayalam cinema

Main article: Malayalam cinema

all Malayalam film industry, also known as Mollywood, is based in Kerala. It is considered to be the fourth largest among the film industries in India. Malayalam film industry is known for films that bridge the gap between parallel cinema and mainstream cinema by portraying thought-provoking social issues with top notch technical perfection but with low budgets. Filmmakers include Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun, G. Aravindan, K. G. George, Padmarajan, Sathyan Anthikad, T. V. Chandran and Bharathan.

Vigathakumaran, a silent movie released in 1928 produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, marked the beginning of Malayalam cinema.[201] Balan, released in 1938, was the first Malayalam "talkie".[202][203] Malayalam films were mainly produced by Tamil producers till 1947, when the first major film studio, Udaya Studio, was established in Kerala.[204] In 1954, the film Neelakkuyil captured national interest by winning the President's silver medal. Scripted by the well-known Malayalam novelist, Uroob, and directed by P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat, it is often considered as the first authentic Malayali film.[205] Newspaper Boy, made by a group of students in 1955, was the first neo-realistic film in Malayalam.[206] Chemmeen (1965), directed by Ramu Kariat and based on a story by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, went on to become immensely popular, and became the first South Indian film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.[207]

The period from the late 1980s to early 1990s is popularly regarded as the 'Golden Age of Malayalam Cinema'[208] with the emergence of actors Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Murali, Thilakan and Nedumudi Venu and filmmakers such as I.V. Sasi, Bharathan, Padmarajan, K. G. George, Sathyan Anthikad, Priyadarshan, A. K. Lohithadas, Siddique-Lal, T. K. Rajeev Kumar and Sreenivasan.

The major actors who emerged after the Golden age include Dileep, Jayasurya, Fahadh Faasil, Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Dulquer Salmaan, Kunchacko Boban and Aju Varghese.

K. R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA) is an autonomous institute established by the Government of Kerala at Thekkumthala in Kottayam District in Kerala state as a training-cum-research centre in film/audio-visual technology.[209]

Meitei cinema

Main article: Meitei cinema

Meitei cinema is a small filmmaking industry in the state of Manipur. This cinema started its film making industry through a full length black and white film Matamgee Manipur in the year 1972. Meitei cinema started to produce many films starting in the 1980s. Langlen Thadoi (1984) was Meitei cinema's first full length colour film.

Meitei cinema has started gaining its momentum with a force since imposition of ban on the screening of Hindi films in entertainment houses in Manipur. Screening of the Hindi movies have come to a halt in this volatile border state despite reiterated appeals made by the successive Chief Ministers. This move has given fresh impetus to the film producers, artists and film lovers in the state.

The Meitei film industry is a vibrant one, with as many as 80-100 movies being made a year, despite constraints of infrastructure and the issues arising out of conflict. Cinemas opened in Imphal after World War II and the first full-length Meitei movie was made in 1972. But the boom happened in 2002, the height of the secessionist movement from India.

Aribam Syam Sharma’s Imagi Ningthem bagged the prestigious Grand Prix in the Nantes International Film Festival in France in 1982. The whole of France got the opportunity to know about Manipur through a nationwide telecast of Imagi Ningthem in the France Television. And after watching Ishanou ( a world acclaimed cinema of Meitei film directed by Aribam Syam Sharma), westerners were aroused to take up research on Lai Haraoba and Manipur’s rich folklore. Maipak, Son of Manipur is the first Meitei documentary film and was released on 9 November 1971. Among the notable Meitei films which have participated in film festivals and have won awards (some even at the National Level) are Phijigee Mani, Leipaklei and Pallepfam.

Marathi cinema

Main article: Marathi cinema

Marathi cinema is the films produced in the Marathi language in the state of Maharashtra, India. Marathi Cinema is one of the oldest industry in Indian Cinema. In fact the pioneer of cinema in Union of India was Dadasaheb Phalke, who brought the revolution of moving images to India with his first indigenously made silent film Raja Harishchandra in 1913, which is considered by IFFI and NIFD part of Marathi cinema as it was made by a Marathi crew.

The first Marathi talkie film, Ayodhyecha Raja (produced by Prabhat Films) was released in 1932, just one year after "Alam Ara" the first Hindi talkie film. Marathi cinema has grown in recent years, with two of its films, namely "Shwaas" (2004) and "Harishchandrachi Factory" (2009), being sent as India's official entries for the Oscars. Today the industry is based in Mumbai but it sprouted and grew first from Kolhapur and then Pune.

There are many Marathi movies, the list of best films in Marathi will be very big very few can be named like 'Sangte Aika','Ek Gaon Bara Bhangadi,'Pinjara' of V. Shantaram,'Sinhasan', 'Pathlaag' 'Jait Re Jait' 'Saamana', Santh Wahate Krishnamai','Sant Tukaram','Shyamchi Aai' by Pralhad Keshav Atre, based on Sane Guruji's best novel Shamchi Aai, and so on. Marathi has immense contribution to Indian cinema as several Marathi-speaking actors have brought glamour to the Indian film industry. Marathi film industry has included the work of actors including Durga Khote, V. Shantaram, Nutan, Lalita Pawar, Nanda, Tanuja, Shriram Lagoo, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Nana Patekar, Smita Patil, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Sonali Bendre, Urmila Matondkar, Reema Lagoo, Mamta Kulkarni, Padmini Kolhapure, Sachin Khedekar and others. In today's list many Film makers, Directors, music directors, actors etc. are added glory to Marathi cinema. Natsamrat by Mahesh manjarekar. Lay Bhari by Director nishikant Kamat.Balak palak by ritesh deshmukh production house gave new stream to marathi cinema. Shala. Duniyadari is the first highest-grossing film in that time who gave new face to marathi Cinema. now Sairat by Nagraj manjule crossed all records till date(till year 2016). Narbachi wadi is most beautiful film recited in Konkan. Music director Ajay-atul gave new fame to marathi music.

Indian Gorkha cinema

Indian Gorkha cinema is Nepali language films produced by Nepali language speaking Indians.

Odia cinema

Main article: Cinema of Odisha

The Odia film industry is the Bhubaneswar and Cuttack based Odia language film industry.[210] The first Odia talkie Sita Bibaha was made by Mohan Sunder Deb Goswami in 1936. Shreeram Panda, Prashanta Nanda, Uttam Mohanty and Bijay Mohanty started the revolution in the Oriya film industry by not only securing a huge audience but also bringing in a newness in their presentation. His movies heralded in the golden era of the Odia commercial industry by bringing in freshness to Odia movies.[211] Then the first colour film was made by Nagen Ray and photographed by a Pune Film Institute trained cinematographer Surendra Sahu titled "Gapa Hele Be Sata" ("although a story, it is true"). But the golden phase of Odia Cinema was 1984 when two Odia films 'Maya Miriga' and 'Dhare Alua' were showcased in 'Indian Panorama' and Nirad Mohapatra's 'Maya Miriga' was invited for the 'Critics Week' in Cannes. The film received 'Best Third World Film' award at Mannheim Film Festival, Jury Award at Hawaii and was shown at London Film Festival.

Punjabi cinema

Main article: Punjabi cinema

K.D. Mehra made the first Punjabi film Sheela (also known as "Pind di Kudi" (Rustic Girl)). Baby Noor Jehan was introduced as an actress and singer in this film. Sheela 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 had 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 the 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.[212] Manny Parmar made the first 3D Punjabi film, Pehchaan 3D, which released in 2013.

Sindhi cinema

Main article: Sindhi cinema

Though Striving hard to survive, mainly because not having a state or region to represent, Sindhi film industry has been producing movies in intervals of time. The very first Sindhi movie produced in India was 1958 film Abana which was a success throughout the country. Later the Sindhi cinema has seen the production of some Bollywood style films like Hal Ta Bhaji Haloon, Parewari, Dil Dije Dil Waran Khe, Ho Jamalo, Pyar Kare Dis: Feel the Power of Love and The Awakening. There are numerous personalities from Sindhi descent who have been and are contributing in Bollywood G P Sippy, Ramesh Sippy, Nikhil Advani, Tarun Mansukhani, Ritesh Sidhwani, Asrani and many more.

Sherdukpen cinema

Director Songe Dorjee Thongdok introduced the first ever Indian film in the language of Sherdukpen with his film Crossing Bridges in 2014. The language and cinema is native of the north-eastern state Arunachal Pradesh. Dorjee is planning on making future films in the same language, contributing one more regional dialect to the world of Indian cinema.[213]

Tamil cinema

Main article: Tamil cinema
Kalidas (1931), Tamil cinema's first talkie

The city once served as a base for all South Indian films and to date remains South India's largest film production centre.[214]

H. M. Reddy directed the first south Indian talkie film Kalidas shot in Tamil and Telugu. Sivaji Ganesan became India's first ever actor to receive an international award when he won the "Best Actor" award at the Afro-Asian film festival in 1960 and was awarded the title of Chevalier in the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 1995.[91] Tamil cinema is also influenced by Dravidian politics,[92] with prominent film personalities like C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa becoming Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu.[93] Tamil films are distributed to various parts of Asia, Southern Africa, Northern America, Europe and Oceania.[215] The industry has inspired Tamil film-making in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada. K. B. Sundarambal was the first film personality to enter a state legislature in India.[216] She was also the first person in the Indian film industry to command a salary of one lakh rupees.

Rajnikanth is referred to as "Superstar" and has since continued to hold a matinee idol status in the popular culture of South India.[217] His mannerisms and stylised delivery of dialogue in films contribute to his mass popularity and appeal.[217] After earning 26 crore (US$3.9 million) for his role in Sivaji (2007), he became the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. Kamal Haasan made his debut in Kalathur Kannamma for which he won the President's Gold Medal for Best Child Actor. Haasan is tied with Mammootty and Amitabh Bachchan for the most Best Actor National Film Awards with three. With seven submissions, Kamal Haasan has starred in the highest number of films submitted India for the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film.

In Tamil films Music and songs play an important role. Critically acclaimed composers such as Ilaiyaraaja and A. R. Rahman having "international following" belong to Tamil cinema.

Telugu cinema

Main article: Telugu cinema

The highest number of theatres are located in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which produce films in the Telugu language. A total of 2809 are located in these regions out of 10167 theatres running in India.[218][219] In the years 2005, 2006 and 2008 the Telugu Film industry produced the largest number of films in India exceeding the number of films produced in Bollywood, with 268, 245 and 286 films in each year respectively.[220][221] Ramoji Film City, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest film production facility, is located in Hyderabad, India.[222] The Prasad's IMAX located in Hyderabad is the world's largest 3D IMAX Screen[147][148] and it is the most attended screen in the world.[149]

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu was the father of Telugu cinema for his contributions for Telugu cinema. Raghupati Venkaiah Award is an annual award incorporated into Nandi Awards to recognize people for their contributions to the Telugu film industry.[223] vuppaladadiyam Nagayya, was the first multilingual film actor, singer, music composer, producer and director in South India to be honoured with the Padma Shri.[224] He was known as the Paul Muni of India in the media.[43][225] S. V. Ranga Rao is one of the first Indian actors of the time to receive international award at Indonesian Film Festival, held in Jakarta for Narthanasala in 1963.[226] N. T. Rama Rao was one of the most commercially successful Telugu actors of his time.[227]

B. Narsing Rao, K. N. T. Sastry and Pattabhirama Reddy have garnered international recognition for their pioneering work in Parallel Cinema.[228][229] Adurthi Subba Rao, has garnered ten National Film Awards, the highest individual awards in Telugu cinema, for his pioneering work as a director.[230] S. P. Balasubramanyam holds the Guinness World Record of having sung the most number of songs for any male playback singer in the world, most majority of his songs were sung in Telugu.[231][232][233]

S. V. Ranga Rao, N. T. Rama Rao, Kanta Rao, Bhanumathi Ramakrishna, Savitri, Gummadi and Sobhan Babu are the actors who received the erstwhile Rashtrapati Award for best performance in a leading role.[234][235] Sharada, Archana, Vijayashanti, Rohini, Nagarjuna Akkineni, and P. L. Narayana are the actors to receive the National Film Award for best performance in acting from this industry. Chiranjeevi, was listed among "The men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema" by IBN-live India.[236][237]

Tulu cinema

Tulu film industry is a part of Indian cinema. It produces 2 to 3 films annually. The first film being Enna Thangadi released in 1971. Usually these films are released in theatres across the Tulu Nadu region and on DVD.[238] The critically acclaimed Tulu Film Suddha, won the award for the best Indian Film at the Osian film festival held at New Delhi in the year 2006.[239][240][241] Oriyardori Asal released in 2011 is the most successful Tulu film till date.[242]

Genres and styles

Masala films

Main article: Masala (film genre)

Masala is a style of Indian cinema, especially in Bollywood, Cinema of West Bengal 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 mixture of spices in Indian cuisine.

Parallel cinema

Main article: 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 of 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 India. Some of the films in this movement have garnered commercial success, successfully straddling 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.[72][73][244]

The neo-realist filmmakers were the Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, closely followed by Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Shaji N.Karun, Adoor Gopalakrishnan[68] and Girish Kasaravalli[245] Ray's films include The Apu Trilogy, consisting of Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959). The three films won major prizes at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, and are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.[246][247][248][249]

Film production house

There are more than 1000 production houses in the Indian film industry, but few have managed to be successful in the market. AVM Productions is an Indian film production studio. It is the oldest surviving studio in India. Such production houses have helped Indian cinema reach an international platform, releasing films and distributing them to audiences overseas. Some well-known production houses in the Indian film industry include Yash Raj Films, Red Chillies Entertainment, Dharma Productions, Eros International, Balaji Motion Pictures, UTV Motion Pictures, Indian Movies Limited and Geetha Arts.[250]

Film music

See also: Filmi

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.[27] The major film music companies of India are Saregama, Sony Music etc.[27] Commercially, film music accounts for 48% India's net music sales.[27] A typical Indian film may have around 5–6 choreographed songs spread throughout the film's length.[251]

The demands of a multicultural, increasingly globalised Indian audience often led to a mixing of various local and international musical traditions.[251] 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.[251] Playback singers such as Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar drew large crowds with national and international film music stage shows.[251] The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st saw extensive interaction between artists from India and the western world.[252] Artists from Indian diaspora blended the traditions of their heritage to those of their country to give rise to popular contemporary music.[252] Within India also, the number of singers have increased so much that music lovers are no longer able to identify a singer on the basis of his or her voice.[253]


Film location in India

In filmmaking, a location is any place where a film crew will be filming actors and recording their dialog. A location where dialog is not recorded may be considered as a second unit photography site. Filmmakers often choose to shoot on location because they believe that greater realism can be achieved in a "real" place, however location shooting is also often motivated by the film's budget.

The most popular locations for film shooting in India are typically the centres of Indian cinema - Bombay for Hindi and Marathi cinema, Chennai for Tamil Cinema, Hyderabad for Telugu Cinema, Calcutta for Bengali cinema, Bengalore for Kannada cinema and so on. Apart from these there are several national locations which are prominently used by Indian filmmakers. These include Manali and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Srinagar and Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir, Lucknow, Agra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Ooty in Tamil Nadu, Amritsar in Punjab, Darjeeling in West Bengal, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur in Rajasthan, Delhi, Kerala and Goa.[255][256]


This section lists the most important film awards given for Indian cinema by national and state authorities.

Award Year of
Awarded by
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards 1937 Government of West Bengal
National Film Awards 1954 Directorate of Film Festivals,
Government of India
Maharashtra State Film Awards 1963 Government of Maharashtra
Nandi Awards 1964 Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Punjab Rattan Awards[257] 1940 Government of Punjab
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards 1967 Government of Tamil Nadu
Karnataka State Film Awards 1967 Government of Karnataka
Orissa State Film Awards 1968 Government of Odisha
Kerala State Film Awards 1969 Government of Kerala

Below are the major non-governmental (private) awards.

Award Year of
Awarded by
Filmfare Awards
Filmfare Awards South
1954 Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
Screen Awards 1994 Screen Weekly
Zee Cine Awards 1998 Zee Entertainment Enterprises
Asianet Film Awards 1998 Asianet
IIFA Awards 2000 Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd
Stardust Awards 2003 Stardust
Zee Gaurav Puraskar 2003 Zee Entertainment Enterprises
Apsara Awards 2004 Apsara Producers Guild
Vijay Awards 2006 Vijay TV
Marathi International Film and Theatre Awards 2010 Marathi Film Industry
South Indian International Movie Awards 2012 South Indian Film Industry
Punjabi International Film Academy Awards 2012 Parvasi Media Inc.
Filmfare Awards East 2014 Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.

Film institutes in India

Several institutes, both government run and private, provide formal education in various aspects of filmmaking. Some of the prominent ones include:

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