Only a few months after the Lumiere brothers introduced the art of cinematography in Paris in 1895, cinema made it`s presence felt in India. Westerners, who were quick to realize the value of India as a site of filmmaking both because of its natural beauty and its `exotic` culture, were inspired to make films that used Indian scenery and culture.
By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films annually. The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara (1931), was a major commercial success. In this period, the timeless recipe of success was invented. A popular film included six songs, at least three dance sequences, a dose of larger than life India and a happy ending. The period from the late 1940s to the 1960s are regarded by film historians as the Golden Age of Hindi cinema.
The Bollywood1 film industry was the ideal media not only to entertain but to educate the masses about all sorts of issues that affected India and its people. It draws its love stories and demonic tales from Sanskrit theater and poular lore. An Indian film can only be a popular hit if it pleases every member of the clan, from urban citizens to country folk.
Up until the '50s, if Bollywood stars wanted to express love or even lust onscreen, clasping each other's hands and staring longingly was about as risqué as it got. With their suggestive dances that avoid true contact it wasn't until the '90s that kissing was really acknowledged. The new era featured more sexually explicit and violent films.
Not only the film actors but the playback singers who sing the songs for the films like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi became popular all around the world. In the 21e century, apart from regular screenings at major international film festivals, the non Indian market contributes a sizeable chunk to Bollywood's box office collections.The Indian film industry has yielded about 27,000 feature films and thousands of documented short films. Bollywood has become the world's largest film producer.
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Associated Press - Bollywood in Cannes
Hindustan Times - Mumbai to get its own Walk of the Stars
Hindustan Times - Indian actor Shammi Kapoor dies at 79
Mirror - Bollywood remembers evergreen Dev Anand
Real Bollywood - Asha Bhosle turns actor
Times of India - Amitabh Bachchan in The great Gatsby
Times of India - Bachchan stable after undergoing surgery
Times of India - Saddam Hussein's Bollywood film debut