Early history (1910s–1940s)Raja Harishchandra (1913), by Dadasaheb Phalke, is known as the first silent feature film made in India. By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films per annum. The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara (1931), was a major commercial success. There was clearly a huge market for talkies and musicals; Bollywood and all the regional film industries quickly switched to sound filming.
The 1930s and 1940s were tumultuous times: India was buffeted by the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian independence movement, and the violence of the Partition. Most Bollywood films were unabashedly escapist, but there were also a number of filmmakers who tackled tough social issues, or used the struggle for Indian independence as a backdrop for their plots.
In 1937, Ardeshir Irani, of Alam Ara fame, made the first colour film in Hindi, Kisan Kanya. The next year, he made another colour film, a version of Mother India. However, colour did not become a popular feature until the late 1950s. At this time, lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were the staple fare at the cinema.
Prior to the 1947 partition of India, which was divided into the Republic of India and Pakistan, the Bombay film industry (now called Bollywood) was closely to the Lahore film industry (now the Lollywood industry of Pakistani cinema), as both produced films in Hindi-Urdu, or Hindustani, the lingua franca across northern and central India. In the 1940s, many actors, filmmakers and musicians in the Lahore industry migrated to the Bombay industry, including actors such as K.L. Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and singers such as Mohammed Rafi, Noorjahan and Shamshad Begum. Around that time, filmmakers and actors from the Bengali film industry based in Calcutta (now Kolkata) also began migrating to the Bombay film industry, which for decades after partition would be dominated by actors, filmmakers and musicians with origins in what is today Pakistani Punjab, along with those from Bengal.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
Golden Age (late 1940s–1960s)
Following India’s independence, the period from the late 1940s to the early 1960s is regarded by film historians as the “Golden Age” of Hindi cinema. Some of the most critically acclaimed Hindi films of all time were produced during this period. Examples include Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) directed by Guru Dutt and written by Abrar Alvi, Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955) directed by Raj Kapoor and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and Aan (1952) directed by Mehboob Khan and starring Dilip Kumar. These films expressed social themes mainly dealing with working-class life in India, particularly urban life in the former two examples; Awaara presented the city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city life.
Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), a remake of his earlier Aurat (1940), was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, which it lost by a single vote. Mother India was also an important film that defined the conventions of Hindi cinema for decades. It spawned a new genre of dacoit films, which was further defined by Gunga Jumna (1961). Written and produced by Dilip Kumar, Gunga Jumna was a dacoit crime drama about two brothers on opposite sides of the law, a theme that later became common in Indian films since the 1970s. Madhumati (1958), directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, popularised the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture. Some of the most famous epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at the time, such as K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Other acclaimed mainstream Hindi filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt.
From the very beginning Bollywood didn’t let their traditions to lose they keep up their traditions and progressed in every way in their dramatic industry, in their film industry and in their traditions and therefore they are making progress in many ways day by day. They launched many super hits and super stars.