Cinema of India

The cinema of India consists of films produced in the nation of India.[8] Cinema is immensely popular in India, with as many as 1,600 films produced in various languages every year.[9][10] Indian cinema produces more films watched by more people than any other country; in 2011, over 3.5 billion tickets were sold across India, 900,000 (0.03%) more than Hollywood. Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore and Hyderabad are the major centres of film production in India.

Indian cinema
No. of screens6,780 single screens (2017)[1]
2,100 multiplex screens (2016)[2][3]
  Per capita9 per million (2015)[3]
Produced feature films (2018)[4]
Number of admissions (2016)[5]
  Per capita1.69
National films1,713,600,000
Gross box office (2017)[6]
Total158.9 billion ($2.44 billion)
National films$2.1 billion (2015)[7]

As of 2013, India ranked first in terms of annual film output, followed by Nollywood,[9][11] Hollywood and China.[12] In 2012, India produced 1,602 feature films.[9] The Indian film industry reached overall revenues of $1.86 billion (93 billion) in 2011. In 2015, India had a total box office gross of US$2.1 billion,[7][13] third largest in the world.

The overall revenue of Indian cinema reached US$1.3 billion in 2000.[14] The industry is segmented by language. The Hindi language film industry is known as Bollywood, the largest sector, representing 43% of box office revenue. The combined revenue of the Tamil and Telugu film industries represent 36%.[15] The South Indian film industry encompasses five film cultures: Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tulu. Another prominent film culture is Bengali cinema, known as Tollywood, which was largely associated with the parallel cinema movement, in contrast to the masala films more prominent in Bollywood and Tamil films at the time.

Indian cinema is a global enterprise.[16] Its films have a following throughout Southern Asia and across Europe, North America, Asia, the Greater Middle East, Eastern Africa, China and elsewhere, reaching in over 90 countries.[17] Biopics including Dangal became transnational blockbusters grossing over $300 million worldwide.[18] Millions of Indians overseas watch Indian films, accounting for some 12% of revenues.[19] Music rights alone account for 4–5% of net revenues.[14]

Global enterprises such as Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures[20][21] and Warner Bros. invested in the industry along with Indian enterprises such as AVM Productions, Prasad's Group, Sun Pictures, PVP Cinemas, Zee, UTV, Suresh Productions, Eros International, Ayngaran International, Pyramid Saimira, Aascar Films and Adlabs. By 2003 as many as 30 film production companies had been listed in the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).[22]


The history of cinema in India extends back to the beginning of the film era. Following the screening of the Lumière and Robert Paul moving pictures in London (1896), commercial cinematography became a worldwide sensation and by mid-1896 both Lumière and Robert Paul films had been shown in Bombay.[23]

Silent films (1890s–1920s)

In 1897, a film presentation by 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).[24] The Wrestlers (1899) by H. S. Bhatavdekar, showing a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Bombay, was the first film to be shot by an Indian and 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.[25][26] Some have argued that Pundalik was not the first Indian film, because it was a photographic recording of a play, and because the cameraman was a British man named Johnson and the film was processed in London.[27][28]

History of Indian cinema

The first full-length motion picture in India was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke, Phalke is seen as the pioneer of the Indian film industry and a scholar of India's languages and culture. He employed elements from Sanskrit epics to produce his Raja Harishchandra (1913), a silent film in Marathi. The female characters in the film were played by male actors.[33] Only one print of the film was made, for showing at the Coronation Cinematograph on 3 May 1913. It was a commercial success. The first silent film in Tamil, Keechaka Vadham was made by R. Nataraja Mudaliar in 1916.[34]

The first chain of Indian cinemas, Madan Theatre was owned by Parsi entrepreneur Jamshedji Framji Madan, who oversaw production of 10 films annually and distributed them throughout India beginning in 1902.[33] He founded Elphinstone Bioscope Company in Calcutta. Elphinstone merged into Madan Theatres Limited in 1919, which had 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 film pioneer.[35] From 1909, he was involved in many aspects of Indian cinema, travelling across Asia. He was the first to build and own cinemas in Madras. He was credited as the father of Telugu cinema. In South India, the first Tamil talkie Kalidas was released on 31 October 1931.[36] Nataraja Mudaliar established South India's first film studio in Madras.[37]

Film steadily gained popularity across India. Tickets were affordable to the masses (as low as an anna (one-sixteenth of a rupee) in Bombay) with additional comforts available at a higher price.[23]

Young producers began to incorporate elements of Indian social life and culture into cinema. Others brought ideas from across the world. Global audiences and markets soon became aware of India's film industry.[38]

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 Brits and three Indians, led by T. Rangachari, a Madras lawyer.[39] 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.

Talkies (1930s–mid-1940s)

Ardeshir Irani released Alam Ara, the first Indian talkie, on 14 March 1931.[33] Irani later produced the first south Indian talkie film Kalidas directed by H. M. Reddy released on 31 October 1931.[40][41] Jumai Shasthi was the first Bengali talkie. Chittor V. Nagaiah, was one of the first multilingual film actor/singer/composer/producer/directors in India. He was known as India's Paul Muni.[42][43]

In 1932, the name "Tollywood" was coined for the Bengali film industry because Tollygunge rhymed with "Hollywood". Tollygunge was then the centre of the Indian film industry. Bombay later overtook Tollygunge as the industry's center, spawning "Bollywood" and many other Hollywood-inspired names.[44]

In 1933, East India Film Company produced its first Telugu film, Savitri. Based on a stage play by Mylavaram Bala Bharathi Samajam, the film was directed by C. Pullaiah with stage actors Vemuri Gaggaiah and Dasari Ramathilakam.[45] The film received an honorary diploma at the 2nd Venice International Film Festival.[46]

On 10 March 1935, another pioneer film maker Jyoti Prasad Agarwala made his first film Joymoti in Assamese. Jyoti Prasad went to Berlin to learn more about films. Indramalati is another film he himself produced and directed after Joymoti. The first film studio in South India, Durga Cinetone was built in 1936 by Nidamarthi Surayya in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.[47] 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 Indian films.[33] Studios emerged by 1935 in major cities such as Madras, Calcutta and Bombay as filmmaking became an established craft, exemplified by the success of Devdas.[48] directed by an Assamese film maker Pramathesh Baruah. In 1937, Kisan Kanhiya directed by Moti B was released, the first colour film made in India.[49] The 1940 film, Vishwa Mohini, is the first Indian film to depict 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 to screen films. The first of its kind was 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 opened in 1934 and Prabhat Studios in Pune began production of Marathi films meant.[48] R. S. D. Choudhury produced Wrath (1930), which was banned by the British Raj for its depiction of Indian actors as leaders during the Indian independence movement.[33] Sant Tukaram, a 1936 film based on the life of Tukaram (1608–50), a Varkari Sant and spiritual poet became the first Indian film to be screened at an international film festival, at the 1937 edition of the Venice Film Festival. The film was judged one of the three best films of the year.[52] In 1938, Gudavalli Ramabrahmam, co-produced and directed the social problem film, Raithu Bidda, which was also banned by the British administration, for depicting the peasant uprising among the Zamindars during the British raj.[53][54]

The Indian Masala film—a term used for mixed-genre films that combined song, dance, romance etc.—arose following World War II.[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 independence divided the nation's assets and a number of studios moved to Pakistan.[48] Partition became an enduring film subject thereafter.[48]

After Indian independence the film industry was investigated by the S. K. Patil Commission.[55] Patil recommended setting up a Film Finance Corporation (FFC) under the Ministry of Finance.[56] This advice was adopted in 1960 and FFC provide financial support to filmmakers.[56] The Indian government had established a Films Division by 1948, which eventually became one of the world's largest documentary film producers with an annual production of over 200 short documentaries, each released in 18 languages with 9,000 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] Realist IPTA plays, such as Nabanna (1944, Bijon Bhattacharya) prepared the ground for 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 emphasise realism and went on to produce Mother India and Pyaasa, among India's most recognisable cinematic productions.[58]

Golden Age (late 1940s–1960s)

The period from the late 1940s to the early 1960s is regarded by film historians as the Golden Age of Indian cinema.[59][60][61]

This period saw the emergence of the Parallel Cinema movement, mainly led by Bengalis,[68] which then accounted for a quarter of India's film output.[69] The movement emphasised social realism. Early examples include Dharti Ke Lal (1946, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas),[70] Neecha Nagar (1946, Chetan Anand),[71] Nagarik (1952, Ritwik Ghatak)[72][73] and Do Bigha Zamin (1953, Bimal Roy), laying the foundations for Indian neorealism[74] and the Indian New Wave.[75]

The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959, Satyajit Ray) won major prizes at all the major international film festivals and firmly established the Parallel Cinema movement. Pather Panchali (1955), the first part of the trilogy, marked Ray's entry in Indian cinema.[76] The trilogy's influence on world cinema can be felt in the "youthful coming-of-age dramas that flooded art houses since the mid-fifties", which "owe a tremendous debt to the Apu trilogy".[77]

Cinematographer Subrata Mitra, who debuted in the trilogy, had his own important influence on cinematography globally. 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 trilogy.[78] Ray pioneered other effects such as the photo-negative flashbacks and X-ray digressions in Pratidwandi (1972).[79]

During the 1960s, Indira Gandhi's intervention during her reign as the Information and Broadcasting Minister of India supported production of off-beat cinematic by FFC.[56]

Commercial Hindi cinema began thriving, including acclaimed films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959, Guru Dutt) Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955, Raj Kapoor). 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]

Epic film Mother India (1957, Mehboob Khan), a remake of his earlier Aurat (1940), was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[80] Mother India defined the conventions of Hindi cinema for decades.[81][82][83] It spawned a new genre of dacoit films.[84] Gunga Jumna (1961, Dilip Kumar) was a dacoit crime drama about two brothers on opposite sides of the law, a theme that became common in Indian films in the 1970s.[85] Madhumati (1958, Bimal Roy) popularised the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture.[86]

Dilip Kumar (Muhammad Yusuf Khan) debuted in the 1940s and rose to fame in the 1950s and was one of the biggest Indian movie stars. He was a pioneer of method acting, predating Hollywood method actors such as Marlon Brando. Much like Brando's influence on New Hollywood actors, Kumar inspired Indian actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.[87]

Neecha Nagar won the Palme d'Or at Cannes,[71] putting Indian films in competition for the Palme d'Or for nearly every year in the 1950s and early 1960s, with many winning major prizes. Ray won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Aparajito (1956) and the Golden Bear and two Silver Bears for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival.[88] The films of screenwriter Khwaja Ahmad Abbas were nominated for the Palme d'Or three times. (Neecha Nagar won, with nominations for Awaara and Pardesi (1957)).

Ray's contemporaries Ghatak and Dutt were overlooked in their own lifetimes, but generated international recognition in the 1980s and 1990s.[88][89] Ray is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema,[90] with Dutt[91] and Ghatak.[92] In 1992, the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll ranked Ray at No. 7 in its list of "Top 10 Directors" of all time,[93] while Dutt ranked No. 73 in the 2002 Sight & Sound poll.[91]

Multiple films from this era are included among the greatest films of all time in various critics' and directors' polls. Multiple Ray films appeared in the Sight & Sound Critics' Poll, including The Apu Trilogy (ranked No. 4 in 1992 if votes are combined),[94] Jalsaghar (ranked No. 27 in 1992), Charulata (ranked No. 41 in 1992)[95] and Aranyer Din Ratri (ranked No. 81 in 1982).[96] The 2002 Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll also included the Dutt films Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool (both tied at #160), Ghatak's 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.[97] 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 Jalsaghar (both tied at #11), and Ghatak's Subarnarekha (also tied at #11).[92]

South Indian 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).[98] 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.[99] Tamil cinema is influenced by Dravidian politics,[100] with prominent film personalities C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa becoming Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu.[101]

Kamal Haasan was introduced as child actor in 1960 Tamil language movie Kalathur Kannamma, Haasan's performance earned him the President's Gold Medal at the age of 6.

Classic Bollywood (1970s–1980s)

Realistic Parallel Cinema continued throughout the 1970s,[102] practised in many Indian film cultures. The FFC's art film orientation came under criticism during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema.[103]

Hindi commercial cinema continued with films such as Aradhana (1969), Sachaa Jhutha (1970), Haathi Mere Saathi (1971), Anand (1971), Kati Patang (1971) Amar Prem (1972), Dushman (1972) and Daag (1973).

The screenwriting duo Salim-Javed, consisting of Salim Khan (l) and Javed Akhtar (r), revitalised Indian cinema in the 1970s,[104] and are considered Bollywood's greatest screenwriters.[105]

By the early 1970s, Hindi cinema was experiencing thematic stagnation,[106] dominated by musical romance films.[107] The arrival of screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, consisting of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, revitalised the industry.[106] They established the genre of gritty, violent, Bombay underworld crime films, with films such as Zanjeer (1973) and Deewaar (1975).[108][109] They reinterpreted the rural themes of Mother India and Gunga Jumna in an urban context reflecting 1970s India,[106][110] channelling the growing discontent and disillusionment among the masses,[106] unprecedented growth of slums[111] and urban poverty, corruption and crime,[112] as well as anti-establishment themes.[113] This resulted in their creation of the "angry young man", personified by Amitabh Bachchan,[113] who reinterpreted Kumar's performance in Gunga Jumna,[106][110] and gave a voice to the urban poor.[111]

By the mid-1970s, crime-action films like Zanjeer and Sholay (1975) solidified Bachchan's position as a lead actor.[103] The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma (1975) was made on a shoe-string budget and became a box office success and a cult classic.[103] Another important film was Deewaar (1975, Yash Chopra).[85] This crime film pitted "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on the real-life smuggler Haji Mastan", portrayed by Bachchan. Danny Boyle described it as "absolutely key to Indian cinema".[114]

"Bollywood" was coined in the 70s,[115][116] when the conventions of commercial Bollywood films were established.[117] Key to this was Nasir Hussain and Salim-Javed's creation of the masala film genre, which combines elements of action, comedy, romance, drama, melodrama and musical.[117][118] Another Hussain/Salim-Javed concoction, Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), was identified as the first masala film and the "first" quintessentially "Bollywood" film.[117][119] Salim-Javed wrote more successful masala films in the 1970s and 1980s.[117] Masala films made Bachchan the biggest Bollywood movie star of the period. Another landmark was Amar Akbar Anthony (1977, Manmohan Desai).[119][120] Desai further expanded the genre in the 1970s and 1980s.

Commercial Hindi cinema grew in the 1980s, with films such as Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), Himmatwala (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naam (1986), Mr India (1987), and Tezaab (1988).

New Bollywood (1990s–present)

The three Khans of Bollywood: Aamir Khan (left), Salman Khan (middle), and Shah Rukh Khan (right).

In the late 1980s, Hindi cinema experienced another period of stagnation, with a decline in box office turnout, due to increasing violence, decline in musical melodic quality, and rise in video piracy, leading to middle-class family audiences abandoning theatres. The turning point came with Yash Chopra's musical romance Chandni (1989), starring Sridevi. It was instrumental in ending the era of violent action films in Indian Cinema and rejuvenating the romantic musical genre.[121] It also set a new template for Bollywood musical romance films that defined Hindi cinema in the coming years.[122] Commercial Hindi cinema grew in the late 80s and 1990s, with the release of Mr. India (1987), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Chaalbaaz (1989), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Lamhe (1991), Saajan (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Khalnayak (1993), Darr (1993),[103] Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya (1998) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Cult classic Bandit Queen (1994, Shekhar Kapur) received international recognition and controversy.[123][124]

In the late 1990s, Parallel Cinema began a resurgence in Hindi cinema, largely due to the critical and commercial success of crime films such as Satya (1998) and Vaastav (1999). These films launched a genre known as Mumbai noir,[125] urban films reflecting social problems there.[126]

Since the 1990s, the three biggest Bollywood movie stars have been the "Three Khans": Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Salman Khan.[127][128] Combined, they starred in the top ten highest-grossing Bollywood films. The three Khans have had successful careers since the late 1980s,[127] and have dominated the Indian box office since the 1990s.[129][130] Shah Rukh Khan was the most successful for most of the 1990s and 2000s, while Aamir Khan has been the most successful since the late 2000s;[131] according to Forbes, Aamir Khan is "arguably the world's biggest movie star" as of 2017, due to his immense popularity in India and China.[132] Other Hindi stars include Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and Kajol. Haider (2014, Vishal Bhardwaj), the third instalment of the Indian Shakespearean Trilogy after Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006),[133] 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 honour.[134]

The 2010s also saw the rise of a new generation of popular actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra, Sushant Singh Rajput, Arjun Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur and Tiger Shroff, as well as actresses like Vidya Balan, Katrina Kaif, Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Sonakshi Sinha, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shraddha Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, with Balan and Ranaut gaining wide recognition for successful female-centric films such as The Dirty Picture (2011), Kahaani (2012) and Queen (2014), and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). Kareena Kapoor and Bipasha Basu are among the few working actresses from the 2000s who successfully completed 15 years in the industry.

Regional cinema (1970s–present)

Kannada film Samskara (1970, Pattabhirama Reddy), pioneered the parallel cinema movement in south Indian cinema. The film won Bronze Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.[135]

Malayalam cinema experienced its own Golden Age in the 1980s and early 1990s. Acclaimed Malayalam filmmakers industry, included Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, T. V. Chandran and Shaji N. Karun.[136] Gopalakrishnan, is often considered to be Ray's spiritual heir.[137] He directed some of his most acclaimed films during this period, including Elippathayam (1981) which won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival.[138] 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 event. Vanaprastham was screened at the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.[139] Commercial Malayalam cinema began gaining popularity with the action films of Jayan, a popular stunt actor who died while filming a helicopter stunt.

Telugu cinema has a history of producing internationally noted fantasy and mythological films such as the 1933 film Savitri having received an honorary diploma at the 2nd Venice International Film Festival,[46] as well as works such as Nartanasala, Mayabazar, and the Baahubali series having won the American Saturn Award for Best International Film.[140] Daasi and Matti Manushulu (directed by B. Narsing Rao) won the Diploma of Merit award at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1989 and 1991 respectively. Maa Ooru directed by him won the Media Wave Award at the Hungary International festival of visual arts.[141][142] Sankarabharanam (1980) dealt with the revival of Indian classical music, won the Prize of the Public at the 1981 Besancon Film Festival of France.[143] Swati Mutyam was selected by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1986.[144][145] The film was screened at the Moscow Film Festival, the Asian and African film festival in Tashkent, the 11th International Film Festival of India in the inaugural mainstream section, and the Asia Pacific Film Festival where it won awards for "Best Film" and "Best Actor" categories.[146][147][148]

Tamil language films appeared at multiple film festivals. Kannathil Muthamittal (Ratnam), Veyyil (Vasanthabalan) and Paruthiveeran (Ameer Sultan), Kanchivaram (Priyadarshan) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tamil films were submitted by India for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language on eight occasions.[149] Nayakan (1987, Kamal Haasan) was included in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies list.[150] 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.[151]

Salim-Javed were highly influential in South Indian cinema. In addition to writing two Kannada films, many of their Bollywood films had remakes produced in other regions, including Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cinema. While the Bollywood directors and producers held the rights to their films in Northern India, Salim-Javed retained the rights in South India, where they sold remake rights, usually for around 1 lakh (equivalent to 29 lakh or US$42,000 in 2018) each, for films such as Zanjeer, Yaadon Ki Baarat and Don.[152] Several of these remakes became breakthroughs for Rajinikanth, who portrayed Bachchan's role for several Tamil remakes.[107][153]

Sridevi was widely considered as the first female superstar of Bollywood cinema due to her pan-Indian appeal and a rare actor who had an equally successful career in the major Indian film industries: Hindi, Telugu and Tamil . She's also the only movie star in history of Bollywood to star in the top 10 highest grossers of the year throughout her active period (1983-1997).

By 1996, the Indian film industry had an estimated domestic cinema viewership of 600 million viewers, establishing India as one of the largest film markets, with the largest regional industries being Hindi and Telugu films.[154] In 2001, in terms of ticket sales, Indian cinema sold an estimated 3.6 billion tickets annually across the globe, compared to Hollywood's 2.6 billion tickets sold.[155][156]

Influence for cinema of India

Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake identify six major influences that have shaped Indian popular cinema:[161]

  • The ancient epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana influenced the narratives of Indian cinema. Examples of this influence include the techniques of a side story, back-story and story within a story. Indian popular films often have plots that branch into sub-plots; such narrative dispersals can clearly be seen in the 1993 films Khalnayak and Gardish.
  • Ancient Sanskrit drama, with its emphasis on spectacle, combined 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), featuring spectacular dance-dramas.[162] The Rasa method of performance, dating to ancient times, is one of the fundamental features that differentiate Indian from Western cinema. 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 is apparent in the performances of Hindi actors such as Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan and in Hindi films such as Rang De Basanti (2006),[163] and Ray's works.[164]
  • Traditional folk theatre became popular 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.
  • Parsi theatre "blended realism and fantasy, music and dance, narrative and spectacle, earthy dialogue and ingenuity of stage presentation, integrating them into a dramatic melodrama. The Parsi plays contained crude humour, melodious songs and music, sensationalism and dazzling stagecraft."[162] These influences are clearly evident in masala films such as Coolie (1983), and to an extent in more recent critically acclaimed films such as Rang De Basanti.[163]
  • Hollywood made popular musicals from the 1920s through the 1960s. Indian musical makers 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."[165]
  • Western musical television, particularly MTV, had an increasing influence in 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 Bombay (1995, Mani Ratnam).[166]

Sharmistha Gooptu and Bhaumik identify Indo-Persian/Islamicate culture as another major influence. In the early 20th century, Urdu was the lingua franca of popular performances across northern India, established in performance art traditions such as nautch dancing, Urdu poetry and Parsi theatre. Urdu and related Hindi dialects were the most widely understood across northern India, thus Hindi-Urdu became the standardised language of early Indian talkies. One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) had a strong influence on Parsi theatre, which adapted "Persianate adventure-romances" into films, and on early Bombay cinema where "Arabian Nights cinema" became a popular genre.[167] Stadtman identifies foreign influences on commercial Bollywood masala films: New Hollywood, Hong Kong martial arts cinema and Italian exploitation films.[168]

Like mainstream Indian popular cinema, Indian Parallel Cinema was influenced by a combination of Indian theatre and Indian literature (such as Bengali literature and Urdu poetry), but differs when it comes to foreign influences, where it is influenced more by European cinema (particularly Italian neorealism and French poetic realism) than by Hollywood. Ray cited Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Jean Renoir's The River (1951), on which he assisted, as influences on his debut film Pather Panchali (1955).

Influence of cinema of India

During colonial rule Indians bought film equipment from Europe.[38] 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 India.[169] One such story was Burma Rani, which depicted civilian resistance to Japanese occupation by British and Indian forces in Myanmar.[169] Pre-independence businessmen such as J. F. Madan and Abdulally Esoofally traded in global cinema.[33]

Early Indian films made early inroads into the Soviet Union, Middle East, Southeast Asia[170] and China. Mainstream Indian movie stars gained international fame across Asia[171][172][173] and Eastern Europe.[174][175] For example, Indian films were more popular in the Soviet Union than Hollywood films[176][177] and occasionally domestic Soviet films.[178] From 1954 to 1991, 206 Indian films were sent to the Soviet Union, drawing higher average audience figures than domestic Soviet productions,[177][179] Films such as Awaara and Disco Dancer drew more than 60 million viewers.[180][181] Films such as Awaara, 3 Idiots and Dangal,[182][183] were one of the 20 highest-grossing films in China.[184]

Indian films frequently appeared in international fora and film festivals.[170] This allowed Parallel Bengali filmmakers to achieve worldwide fame.[185]

Many Asian and South Asian countries increasingly found Indian cinema as more suited to their sensibilities than Western cinema.[170] Jigna Desai holds that by the 21st century, Indian cinema had become 'deterritorialised', spreading to parts of the world where Indian expatriatres were present in significant numbers, and had become an alternative to other international cinema.[186]

Indian cinema more recently began influencing Western musical films, and played a particularly instrumental role in the revival of the genre in the Western world. Ray's work had a worldwide impact, with filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese,[187] James Ivory,[188] Abbas Kiarostami, François Truffaut,[189] Carlos Saura,[190] Isao Takahata and Gregory Nava[191] citing his influence, and others such as Akira Kurosawa praising his work.[192] The "youthful coming-of-age dramas that have flooded art houses since the mid-fifties owe a tremendous debt to the Apu trilogy".[77] Since the 1980s, overlooked Indian filmmakers such as Ghatak[193] and Dutt[194] posthumously gained international acclaim. Baz Luhrmann stated that his successful musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001) was directly inspired by Bollywood musicals.[195] That film's success renewed interest in the then-moribund Western musical genre, subsequently fuelling a renaissance.[196] Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was directly inspired by Indian films,[114][197] and is considered to be an "homage to Hindi commercial cinema".[198]

Indian cinema has been recognised repeatedly at the Academy Awards. Indian films Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Lagaan (2001), were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Indian Oscar winners include Bhanu Athaiya (costume designer), Ray (filmmaker), A. R. Rahman (music composer), Resul Pookutty (sound editor) and Gulzar (lyricist), Cottalango Leon and Rahul Thakkar Sci-Tech Award.[199]

Genres and styles

Masala film

Masala is a style of Indian cinema that mix genres in one work, especially in Bollywood, West Bengal and South India. For example, one film can portray action, comedy, drama, romance and melodrama. These films tend to be musicals, with songs filmed in picturesque locations. Plots for such movies may seem illogical and improbable to unfamiliar viewers. The genre is named after masala, a mixture of spices in Indian cuisine.

Parallel cinema

Parallel Cinema, is also known as Art Cinema or the Indian New Wave, is known for its realism and naturalism, addressing the sociopolitical climate. This movement is distinct from mainstream Bollywood cinema and began around the same time as the French and Japanese New Waves. The movement began in Bengal (led by Ray, Sen and Ghatak) and then gained prominence in the regions. The movement was launched by Roy's Do Bigha Zamin (1953), which was both a commercial and critical success, winning the International Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.[74][75][200] Ray's films include The Apu Trilogy. Its three films won major prizes at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, and are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.[201][202][203][204]

Other neo-realist filmmakers were Shyam Benegal, Karun, Gopalakrishnan[68] and Kasaravalli.[205]


Some Indian films are known as "multilinguals", 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.[206]:15

Rajadhyaksha and Willemen note that in seeking to construct their Encyclopedia, 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".[206]:15


Music is a substantial revenue generator, with music rights alone accounting for 4–5% of net revenues.[14] The major film music companies are Saregama, T-Series, Sony Music and Zee Music Company.[14] Film music accounts for 48% of net music sales.[14] A typical film may feature 5–6 choreographed songs.[207]

The demands of a multicultural, increasingly globalised Indian audience led to a mixing of local and international musical traditions.[207] Local dance and music remain a recurring theme in India and followed the Indian diaspora.[207] Playback singers such as Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and K. J. Yesudas drew crowds to film music stage shows.[207] In the 21st century interaction increased between Indian artists and others.[208]

Film location

In filmmaking, a location is any place where acting and dialogue are recorded. Sites where filming without dialogue takes place is termed 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. Location shooting is often motivated by budget considerations.

The most popular locations are the main cities for each regional industry. Other locations include Manali and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Srinagar and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Darjeeling in West Bengal, 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.[209][210]

Production companies

More than 1000 production organisations operate in the Indian film industry, but few are successful. AVM Productions is the oldest surviving studio in India. Other major production houses include Yash Raj Films, T-series, Red Chillies Entertainment, Dharma Productions, Eros International, Ajay Devgn FFilms, Balaji Motion Pictures, UTV Motion Pictures, Raaj Kamal Films International, Wunderbar Films, Aashirvad Cinemas Indian Movies Limited and Geetha Arts.[211]

Cinema by language

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

Breakdown by languages
2018 Indian feature films certified by the Central Board of Film Certification by languages.[212]
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 305 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 305
Kannada 264 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 264
Telugu 242 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 242
Tamil 189 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 189
Malayalam 173 (digital) and 1 (celluloid), total of 174
Bengali 133 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 133
Marathi 124 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 124
Bhojpuri 92 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 92
Gujarati 73 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 73
Odia 42 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 42
Punjabi 38 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 38
Assamese 16 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 16
Konkani 13 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 13
English 11 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 11
Rajasthani (Rollywood) 10 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 10
Chhattisgarhi 9 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 9
Tulu 9 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 9
Khasi 7 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 7
Garhwali 4 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 4
Maithili 4 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 4
Awadhi 3 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 3
Lambadi 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Haryanvi 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Mishing 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Nepali 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Pnar 2 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 2
Others 1 each
Total 1986 (digital) and 0 (celluloid), total of 1986


The Assamese language film industry traces its origin to the works of revolutionary visionary Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala, who was a distinguished poet, playwright, composer and freedom fighter. He was instrumental in the production of the first Assamese film Joymati[213] 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 screenwriter, 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 many early films, the negatives and prints of Joymati are missing. Some effort has been made privately by Altaf Mazid to restore and subtitle what is left of the prints. Despite the significant financial loss from Joymati, a second picture, Indramalati, was released in 1939. The 21st century has produced Bollywood-style Assamese movies.[214]

Bengali (Tollywood)

The Bengali language cinematic tradition of Tollygunge located in West Bengal, also known as Tollywood (named after Tollygunge), hosted filmmaking masters such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.[215] Recent Bengali films that have captured national attention include Choker Bali.(Rituparno Ghosh)[216] Bengal has produced science fiction and issue films.[217]

Bengali cinema dates to the 1890s, when the first "bioscopes" were shown in theatres in Calcutta. Within five years, Hiralal Sen 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 and Classic Theatre. Following a long gap after Sen, Dhirendra Nath Ganguly (Known as D.G.) established Indo British Film Co, the first Bengali owned production company, in 1918. The first Bengali Feature film Billwamangal was produced in 1919 under the banner of Madan Theatre. Bilat Ferat (1921) was the IBFC's first production. Madan Theatres production of Jamai Shashthi was the first Bengali talkie.[218]

In 1932, the name "Tollywood" was coined for the Bengali film industry because Tollygunge rhymes with "Hollywood" and because it was then the centre of the Indian film industry.[44] The 'Parallel Cinema' movement began in Bengal. Bengali stalwarts such as Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ghatak and others earned international acclaim. Actors including Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee led the Bengali film industry.

Other Bengali art film directors include Mir Shaani, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose, Sandip Ray and Aparna Sen.

Braj Bhasha

Braj Bhasha language films present Brij culture mainly to rural people, predominant in the nebulous Braj region centred around Mathura, Agra, Aligarh and Hathras in Western Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur and Dholpur in Rajasthan. It is the predominant language in the central stretch of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab in Uttar Pradesh. The first Brij Bhasha movie India was Brij Bhoomi (1982, Shiv Kumar), which was a success throughout the country.[219][220] Later Brij Bhasha cinema saw the production of films like Jamuna Kinare, Brij Kau Birju, Bhakta Surdas and Jesus.[221][222] The culture of Brij is presented in Krishna Tere Desh Main (Hindi), Kanha Ki Braj Bhumi,[223] Brij ki radha dwarika ke shyam[224] and Bawre Nain.[225]


Bhojpuri language films predominantly cater to residents of western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh and also have a large audience in Delhi and Mumbai due to migration of Bhojpuri speakers to these cities. Besides India, markets for these films developed in other Bhojpuri speaking countries of the West Indies, Oceania and South America.[226]

Bhojpuri film history begins with Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari, 1962, Kundan Kumar).[227] Throughout the following decades, few films were produced. Films such as Bidesiya (Foreigner, 1963, S. N. Tripathi) and Ganga (Ganges, 1965, Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not common in the 1960s and 1970s.

The industry experienced a revival in 2001 with the hit Saiyyan Hamar (My Sweetheart, Mohan Prasad), which shot Ravi Kissan to superstardom.[228] This was followed by several other successes, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi (Priest, tell me when I will marry, 2005, Prasad), and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala (My father-in-law, the rich guy, 2005.) Both did much better business in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits, and both earned more than ten times their production costs.[229] Although smaller than other Indian film industries, these successes increased Bhojpuri cinema's visibility, leading to an awards show[230] and a trade magazine, Bhojpuri City.[231]

Chhattisgarhi (Chhollywood)

Chhollywood was born in 1965 with the first Chhattisgarhi film [232] Kahi Debe Sandesh (In Black and White, Manu Nayak).[233] Naidu wrote the lyrics for the film,[234] and two songs were sung by Mohammad Rafi. That film and Ghar Dwar (1971, Niranjan Tiwari) bombed. No Chhollywood movie was produced for nearly 30 years thereafter.[235]


Deepa Mehta, Anant Balani, Homi Adajania, Vijay Singh, Vierendrra Lalit and Sooni Taraporevala have garnered recognition in Indian English cinema.


Before the arrival of talkies, several silent films were closely related to Gujarati culture. Many film directors, producers and actors associated with silent films were Gujarati and Parsi. Twenty leading film company and studios were owned by Gujaratis between 1913 and 1931. They were mostly located in Mumbai. At least forty-four major Gujarati directors worked during this period.[236]

Gujarati cinema dates to 9 April 1932, when the first Gujarati film, Narsinh Mehta, was released.[236][237][238] Liludi Dharti (1968) was the first colour Gujarati film.[239] After flourishing through the 1960s to 1980s, the industry declined although it later revived. More than one thousand films were released.[240]

Gujarati cinema ranges from mythology to history and from social to political. Gujarati films originally targeted a rural audience, but after its revival catered to an urban audience.[236]

Hindi (Bollywood)

The Hindi language film industry of Bombay—also known as[242] Bollywood—is the largest and most powerful branch.[243] Hindi cinema explored issues of caste and culture in films such as Achhut Kanya (1936) and Sujata (1959).[244] International visibility came to the industry with Raj Kapoor's Awara and later in Shakti Samantha's Aradhana.[245] Hindi cinema grew during the 1990s with the release of as many as 215 films annually.

Many actors signed contracts for simultaneous work in 3–4 films.[14] Institutions such as the Industrial Development Bank of India financed Hindi films.[14] Magazines such as Filmfare, Stardust and Cine Blitz became popular.[246]

In Hindi cinema audiences participate by clapping, singing and reciting familiar dialogue.[247]

Art film directors include Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal,[68] Mira Nair, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sudhir Mishra and Nandita Das.

Kannada (Sandalwood)

The Kannada film industry, also referred to as Sandalwood, is based in Bangalore and caters mostly to Karnataka. Gubbi Veeranna (1891 – 1972) was an Indian theatre director and artist and an awardee of the Padma Shri award conferred by the President of India. He was one of the pioneers and most prolific contributors to Kannada theatre. Kannada actor Rajkumar began working with Veeranna and later became an important actor.

Veeranna founded Karnataka Gubbi Productions. He produced Sadarame (1935, Raja Chandrasekar), in which he acted in the lead role. He then produced Subhadra and Jeevana Nataka (1942). He took the lead role in Hemareddy Mallamma (1945). Karnataka Gubbi Productions was later called Karnataka Films Ltd., and is credited with starting the career of Rajkumar when it offered him the lead role in his debut film Bedara Kannappa. He produced silent movies including His Love Affair, (Raphel Algoet). Veeranna was the lead, accompanied by his wife, Jayamma.

Veeranna produced Bedara Kannappa (1954, H. L. N. Simha) which received the first Certificate of Merit. However, the first "President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Kannada" was awarded at the 5th National Film Awards ceremony to Premada Puthri (1957, R. Nagendra Rao). Rajkumar was the legendary actor along with Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish, Anant Nag, Shankar Nag, Prabhakar, Udaya Kumar, Kalyan Kumar, Gangadhar, Ravichandran, Shivarajkumar, Shashikumar, Ramesh Arvind, Devaraj, Jaggesh, Saikumar, Vinodraj, Charanraj, Ramkumar, Sudeep, Darshan, Puneeth Rajkumar, Yash, Leelavathi, Kalpana, Bharathi, Jayanthi, Pandari Bai, Aarathi, Jaimala, Tara, Umashri and Ramya.

Kannada Directors include H. L. N. Simha, R. Nagendra Rao, B. R. Panthulu, M. S. Sathyu, Puttanna Kanagal, G. V. Iyer, Karnad, T. S. Nagabharana Siddalingaiah, B. V. Karanth, A K Pattabhi, T. V. Singh Thakur, Y. R. Swamy, M. R. Vittal, Sundar Rao Nadkarni, P. S. Moorthy, S. K. A. Chari, Hunsur Krishnamurthy, Prema Karanth, Rajendra Singh Babu, N. Lakshminarayan, Shankar Nag, Girish Kasaravalli, Umesh Kulkarni and Suresh Heblikar. Other noted film personalities in Kannada are, Bhargava, G.K. Venkatesh, Vijaya Bhaskar, Rajan-Nagendra, Geethapriya, Hamsalekha, R. N. Jayagopal, M. Ranga Rao and Yogaraj Bhat.

Kannada cinema contributed to Indian parallel cinema. Influential Kannada films in this genre include Samskara, Chomana Dudi (B. V. Karanth), "Bangarada Manushya", "Mayura", "Jeevana Chaitra", "Gauri Ganesha", "Udbhava", Tabarana Kathe, Vamshavruksha, Kaadu Kudure, Hamsageethe, Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu, Accident, Maanasa Sarovara, Bara, Chitegoo Chinte, Galige, Ijjodu, Kanneshwara Rama,Ghatashraddha, Tabarana Kathe, Mane, Kraurya, Thaayi Saheba, Bandhana, Muthina Haara, Banker Margayya, Dweepa, Munnudi, Bettada Jeeva, Mysore Mallige and Chinnari Muththa.

The Government Film and Television Institute, Bangalore (formerly a part of S.J. Polytechnic) is believed to be the first government institute in India to start technical film courses.[248]


Konkani language films are mainly produced in Goa. It is one of India's smallest film regions, producing four films in 2009.[249] 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 (1950, Jerry Braganza), under the banner of Etica Pictures.[250][251] The film's release date, 24 April, is celebrated as Konkani Film Day.[252] Karnataka is the hub of many Konkani speaking people. An immense body of Konkani literature and art is a resource for filmmakers. Kazar (Marriage, 2009, Richard Castelino) and Ujvaadu (Shedding New Light on Old Age Issues, Kasaragod Chinna) are major releases. The pioneering Mangalorean Konkani film is Mog Ani Maipas.

Malayalam (Mollywood)

The Malayalam film industry, India's fourth largest, is based in Kochi. Filmmakers include Gopalakrishnan, Karun, Aravindan, K. G. George, Padmarajan, Sathyan Anthikad, Chandran and Bharathan.

The first full-length Malayalam feature wasVigathakumaran (1928, J. C. Daniel).[253] This movie is credited as the first Indian social drama feature film. Daniel is considered the father of the Malayalam film industry. Balan (1938, S. Nottani) was the first Malayalam "talkie".[254][255]

Malayalam films were mainly produced by Tamil producers until 1947, when the first major film studio, Udaya Studio, opened in Kerala.[256] Neelakkuyil (1954) captured national interest by winning the President's silver medal. Scripted by the well-known Malayalam novelist, Uroob (P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat) is often considered the first authentic Malayali film.[257] Newspaper Boy (1955), made by a group of students, was the first neo-realistic film offering.[258] Chemmeen (1965, Ramu Kariat) based on a story by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, became the first South Indian film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.[259]

The first neorealistic film Newspaper Boy (1955-P. Ramdas),[136] The first CinemaScope film Thacholi Ambu (1978-Navodaya Appachan),[260] The first 70 mm film Padayottam (1982-Jijo Punnoose),[261] The first 3D film My Dear Kuttichathan (1984-Jijo Punnoose),[262] The first Digital film Moonnamathoral (2006-V. K. Prakash),[263] The first Smartphone film Jalachhayam (2010-Sathish Kalathil),[264] The first 8K resolution film Villain (2017-B. Unnikrishnan)[265] of India were made in Malayalam.

The period from the late 1980s to early 1990s is regarded as the Golden Age of Malayalam cinema[266] with the emergence of actors Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Bharath Gopi, Murali, Thilakan and Nedumudi Venu. The major actors who emerged after the Golden Age include Dileep, Jayasurya, Fahadh Faasil, Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali and Manju Warrier.

Notable 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. Art film directors include Puttanna Kanagal, Dore Bhagavan, Siddalingaiah in Kannada; Gopalakrishnan, Karun and T.V. Chandran.

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.[267]


Meitei cinema is a small industry in the state of Manipur. This region's debut was a full-length black and white film Matamgee Manipur ( 1972). Meitei cinema started in the 1980s. Langlen Thadoi (1984) was Meitei cinema's first full-length colour film.

Meitei cinema gained momentum following a ban on the screening of Hindi films in entertainment houses in Manipur. Screening of Hindi movies came to a halt despite reiterated appeals made by successive Chief Ministers. 80-100 movies are made each year. Cinemas opened in Imphal after World War II. The first full-length Meitei movie was made in 1972, followed by a boom in 2002.

Imagi Ningthem (Aribam Syam Sharma) won the Grand Prix in the 1992 Nantes International Film Festival. A nationwide French telecast of Imagi Ningthem expanded the audience. After watching Ishanou (Aribam Syam Sharma), westerners began research on Lai Haraoba and Manipur's rich folklore. Maipak, Son of Manipur (1971) was the first Meitei documentary film.

Among the notable Meitei films are Phijigee Mani, Leipaklei and Pallepfam.


Marathi films are produced in the Marathi language in Maharashtra. It is one of the oldest efforts in Indian cinema. Dadasaheb Phalke made the first indigenous silent film Raja Harishchandra (1913) with a Marathi crew, which is considered by IFFI and NIFD to be part of Marathi cinema.

Actor Duo Ashok Saraf and Laxmikant Berde are considered as the Comedy Kings of Marathi Cinema.

The first Marathi talkie, Ayodhyecha Raja (1932, Prabhat Films). Shwaas (2004) and Harishchandrachi Factory (2009), became India's official Oscar entries. Today the industry is based in Mumbai, but it began in Kolhapur and then Pune.

Some of the more notable films are Sangte Aika, Ek Gaon Bara Bhangadi, Pinjara, Sinhasan, Pathlaag, Jait Re Jait, Saamana, Santh Wahate Krishnamai, Sant Tukaram and Shyamchi Aai.

Marathi films feature the work of actors including Durga Khote, V. Shantaram, Lalita Pawar, Nanda, Shriram Lagoo, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Nana Patekar, Smita Patil, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Sonali Bendre, Urmila Matondkar, Reema Lagoo, Padmini Kolhapure, Ashok Saraf, Laxmikant Berde and Sachin Khedekar.


Nagpuri films produced in the Nagpuri language in Jharkhand. The first Nagpuri feature film was Sona Kar Nagpur (1992) which was produced and directed by Dhananjay Nath Tiwari.[268][269]


Gorkha cinema consists of Nepali language films produced by Nepali-speaking Indians.

Odia (Ollywood)

The Odia language film industry operates in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.[270] The first Odia talkie Sita Bibaha (1936) came from Mohan Sunder Deb Goswami. Shreeram Panda, Prashanta Nanda, Uttam Mohanty and Bijay Mohanty started the Oriya film industry by finding an audience and a fresh presentation.[271] The first colour film, Gapa Hele Be Sata (Although a Story, It Is True), was made by Nagen Ray and photographed by Pune Film Institute-trained cinematographer Surendra Sahu. The best year for Odia cinema was 1984 when Maya Miriga (Nirad Mohapatra) and Dhare Alua were showcased in Indian Panorama and Maya Miriga was invited to Critics Week at Cannes. The film received the Best Third World Film award at Mannheim Film Festival, Jury Award at Hawaii and was shown at the London Film Festival.

Punjabi (Pollywood)

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; it was a hit across the province. Its success led many more producers to make 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 the 2000s Punjabi cinema revived with more releases every year featuring bigger budgets.[272] Manny Parmar made the first 3D Punjabi film, Pehchaan 3D (2013).


The Sindhi film industry produces movies at intervals. The first was Abana (1958 ), which was a success throughout the country. Sindhi cinema then produced some Bollywood-style films such as Hal Ta Bhaji Haloon, Parewari, Dil Dije Dil Waran Khe, Ho Jamalo, Pyar Kare Dis: Feel the Power of Love and The Awakening. Numerous Sindhi have contributed in Bollywood, including G P Sippy, Ramesh Sippy, Nikhil Advani, Tarun Mansukhani, Ritesh Sidhwani and Asrani.


Director Songe Dorjee Thongdok introduced the first Sherdukpen-language film Crossing Bridges (2014). Sherdukpen is native to the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.[273]

Tamil (Kollywood)

Chennai once served as a base for all South Indian films.[274]

The first south Indian talkie film Kalidas (H. M. Reddy) was shot in Tamil and Telugu. Sivaji Ganesan became India's first actor to receive an international award when he won Best Actor at the Afro-Asian film festival in 1960 and the title of Chevalier in the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 1995.[99]

AVM studios is the oldest surviving studio in India.

Tamil cinema is influenced by Dravidian politics,[100] led by film personalities such as C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa who became Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu.[101] K. B. Sundarambal was the first film personality to enter a state legislature in India.[275] She was also the first to command a salary of one lakh rupees.

Tamil films are distributed to various parts of Asia, Southern Africa, Northern America, Europe and Oceania.[276] The industry inspired Tamil film-making in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada.

Rajnikanth is referred to as "Superstar" and holds matinee idol status in South India.[277] Kamal Haasan debuted in 1960 Kalathur Kannamma, for which he won the President's Gold Medal for Best Child Actor. Amitabh Bachchan has won the most Best Actor National Film Awards, with four awards. With seven submissions, Kamal Haasan has starred in the highest number of Academy Award submissions. Today actors like Vijay and Ajith Kumar are some of the most popular names across south India.Critically acclaimed composers such as Ilaiyaraaja and A. R. Rahman work in Tamil cinema. Art film directors include Santosh Sivan. Sridevi, Vyjayanthimala, Hema malini were debuted in Tamil films and became as female superstars ever in Indian cinema.

Telugu (Tollywood)

India's most number of theatres are located in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana known for producing feature films in Telugu.[278][279][280] Ramoji Film City, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest film production facility, is located in Hyderabad.[281] Tollywood is the second largest industry after Bollywood interms of market and number films made in India. The Prasad IMAX in Hyderabad is the world's largest 3D IMAX screen[157][158] and is the world's most viewed screen.[159] Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu is considered the "father of Telugu cinema". The annual Raghupati Venkaiah Award was incorporated into the Nandi Awards to recognise contributions to the industry.[282]

Chittor V. Nagaiah was the first multilingual Indian film actor, thespian, composer, director, producer, writer and playback singer. Nagaiah made significant contributions to Telugu cinema, and starred in some two hundred productions.[283] Regarded as one of the finest Indian method actors, he was Telugu's first matinee idol. His forte was intense characters, often immersing himself in the character's traits and mannerisms.[283] He was the first from South India to be honoured with the Padma Shri.[284] He became known as India's Paul Muni.[42][285] S. V. Ranga Rao was one of the first Indian actors to receive the international award at the Indonesian Film Festival, held in Jakarta, for Narthanasala in 1963.[286] N. T. Rama Rao was one of the most successful Telugu actors of his time.[287]

B. Narsing Rao, K. N. T. Sastry and Pattabhirama Reddy garnered international recognition for their pioneering work in Parallel Cinema.[288][289] Adurthi Subba Rao won ten National Film Awards, Telugu cinema's highest individual awards, for his directorial work.[290] N .T. Rama Rao was an Indian actor, producer, director, editor and politician who earned three National Film Awards. He served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for seven years over three terms.

Bhanumathi Ramakrishna was a multilingual Indian film actress, drector, music director, singer, producer, author and songwriter.[291][292] Widely known as the first female super star of Telugu cinema, she is also known for her work in Tamil cinema. Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao was an Indian film, composer, playback singer known for his works predominantly in South Indian cinema. S. P. Balasubramanyam holds the Guinness World Record of having sung the most songs for any male playback singer; the majority were in Telugu.[293][294][295]

S. V. Ranga Rao, N. T. Rama Rao, Kanta Rao, Bhanumathi Ramakrishna, Savitri, Gummadi and Sobhan Babu received the Rashtrapati Award for best performance in a leading role.[296][297] Sharada, Archana, Vijayashanti, Rohini, and P. L. Narayana received the National Film Award for the best performance in acting. Chiranjeevi was listed among "the men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema" by IBN-live India.,[298][299] The Telugu cinema history created the two part of Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017).[300][301] The Baahubali franchise has achieved the highest grossing Indian multilingual film franchise of all time globally, with a box office of approximately 1,900 crore (US$270 million).[302][303][304][305] The first edition, Baahubali: The Beginning was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, while the second edition, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion received the Saturn Award for Best International Film by the American Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.[306][307] The second edition, garnered the Australian Telstra People's Choice Award at the 2017 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.[308]


30 to 40 films are made annually in Tulu. K. N. Tailor and Machchendra nath Pandeshwar are Tulu icons. Usually Tulu films are released in theatres across the Kanara region of Karnataka.[309]

Enna Thangadi, was the first, released in 1971. The critically acclaimed Suddha won the award for Best Indian Film at the Osian film festival held at New Delhi in 2006.[310][311][312] Oriyardori Asal, released in 2011, is the most successful.[313] Koti Chennaya (1973, Vishu Kumar) was the first history-based. The first colour film was Kariyani Kattandi Kandani (1978, Aroor Bhimarao).


Dadasaheb Phalke is known as the "Father of Indian cinema".[29][30][31][32] The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, was instituted in his honour by the Government of India in 1969, and is the country's most prestigious and coveted film award.[314]

Prominent government-sponsored film awards
AwardYear of
Awarded by
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards1937Government of West Bengal
National Film Awards1954Directorate of Film Festivals,
Government of India
Maharashtra State Film Awards1963Government of Maharashtra
Nandi Awards1964Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Punjab Rattan Awards[315]1940Government of Punjab
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards1967Government of Tamil Nadu
Karnataka State Film Awards1967Government of Karnataka
Orissa State Film Awards1968Government of Odisha
Kerala State Film Awards1969Government of Kerala
Arab Indo Bollywood Awards2016ICF Studios
Prominent non-governmental awards
AwardYear of
Awarded by
Filmfare Awards
Filmfare Awards South
1954Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
Screen Awards1994Screen Weekly
Sansui Viewer's Choice Movie Awards1998Pritish Nandy Communications
Zee Cine Awards1998Zee Entertainment Enterprises
Asianet Film Awards1998Asianet
IIFA Awards2000Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd
Stardust Awards2003Stardust
Zee Gaurav Puraskar2003Zee Entertainment Enterprises
Apsara Awards2004Apsara Producers Guild Awards
Vijay Awards2007STAR Vijay
Marathi International Film and Theatre Awards2010Marathi Film Industry
South Indian International Movie Awards2012South Indian Film Industry
Punjabi International Film Academy Awards2012Parvasi Media Inc.
Prag Cine Awards2013Prag AM Television
Filmfare Awards East2014Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.

Film education

Government-run and private institutes provide formal education in various aspects of filmmaking. Some of the prominent ones include:

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Further reading

  • Suresh Chabria; Paolo Cherchi Usai (1994). Light of Asia: Indian Silent Cinema, 1912–1934. Wiley Eastern. ISBN 978-81-224-0680-1.
  • Stanley A. Wolpert (2006). Encyclopedia of India. ISBN 978-0-684-31350-4.
  • Desai, Jigna (2004). Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-96684-9.
  • K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanyake (2004). Indian Popular Cinema: A Narrative of Cultural Change. Trentham Books Limited. ISBN 978-1-85856-329-9.
  • Gulzar, Govin Nihalanni, & Saibel Chatterjee. Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema New Delhi: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2003. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
  • Khanna, Amit (2003), "The Business of Hindi Films", Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema: historical record, the business and its future, narrative forms, analysis of the medium, milestones, biographies, Encyclopædia Britannica (India) Private Limited, ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5.
  • Gopal, Sangita; Moorti, Sujata (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4578-7.
  • Narweker, Sanjit, ed. Directory of Indian Film-Makers and Films. Flicks Books, 1994. ISBN 0-948911-40-9
  • Stanley A. Wolpert (2006). Encyclopedia of India. ISBN 978-0-684-31351-1.
  • Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (1996). The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford University Press, US. ISBN 978-0-19-811257-0.
  • Passek, Jean-Loup, ed. (1983). Le cinéma indien. Paris: Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou. ISBN 9782864250371. OCLC 10696565.
  • Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1999). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-57958-146-6.
  • Stanley A. Wolpert (2006). Encyclopedia of India. ISBN 978-0-684-31351-1.
  • Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's Other Film Industry. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-39680-6.
  • Watson, James L. (2009), Globalization, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  • Gopal, Sangita; Moorti, Sujata (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4578-7.
  • Report of the Indian Cinematograph Committee 1927–1928. Superintendent, The Government Press, Madras. 1928.
  • Dwyer, Rachel; Patel, Divia (2002). Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film. ISBN 978-0-8135-3175-5.
  • Culture and Representation: The Emerging Field of Media Semiotics/J A H Khatri/Ruby Press & Co./ISBN 978-93-82395-12-6/ 2013.
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