Indian cinema has undergone a remarkable journey. This blog post surveys its evolution over time and speculates on what might lie ahead for it.
Bollywood, Tollywood (Bengali), Mollywood (Malayalam), Kollywood (Telugu) and Ollywood (Odisha) are the major film industries in India. According to a Deloitte study, 83% of India watches video content on their mobile phones.
The Early Days
Indian cinema is one of the oldest and most distinctive filmmaking cultures worldwide, producing more than 1600 films annually with a local focus but an immense output.
At its inception, silent films were all about motion and visuals alone. The first film shown in India was PUNDALIK (1912), a Marathi silent film made by Dada Saheb Phalke that screened at Coronation Cinematograph in Bombay in 1912.
Over the years, Bollywood blossomed into a vast movie empire. It began as an outlet for lower classes people and eventually turned into an industry with strong social messages – often criticizing ancient practices like dowry systems or polygamy.
The Golden Age
During the golden age of Indian Cinema, or Bollywood as it was popularly known, many films were produced that have become timeless classics. At this time, cinema was experiencing major technological advancements.
In this era, film-makers added synchronized music and sound to make viewing more thrilling. Films were also able to incorporate various genres like American gangster films, musicals and comedies.
These films have always been commercially successful due to their melodramatic plotlines that often feature star-crossed lovers, angry parents, family ties, sacrifice, political corruption, kidnapping, villains, kindhearted courtesans, long-lost relatives or siblings, reversals of fortune and serendipity.
India’s movie industry has been a vibrant business for centuries, and it continues to be one of the largest worldwide with an international audience. As an innovator and pioneer in cinematic innovation and technology, it has carved out an exclusive niche for itself. Over time, some of India’s most renowned directors, actors and actresses have continued creating popular films that continue to capture viewers’ attention.
Indian Cinema has seen remarkable changes over the years. From hand-cranked cameras to battery operated ones, silent to talkies, black and white to colour and 35mm flat format to 70mm Panavision or Cinemascope films – Indian cinema truly has seen it all!
Aside from Bollywood (Hindi-language films), there are regional film industries in various languages. Popular choices include Bengali, Telugu (Andhra Pradesh), Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil.
Hindi-language Bollywood is India’s largest and most successful filmmaking industry, producing more than 1000 films annually for an enthusiastic global audience.
Bollywood films, despite their many shortcomings, have always captivated audiences with their music and dance routines. Additionally, these movies serve to highlight social issues affecting India such as caste system, land rights issues and corruption among others.
Bollywood, or Indian cinema as it is popularly known, has been an integral part of India’s cultural landscape for generations. As one of the world’s largest film industries, it produces more than 1000 films annually and draws audiences of more than 30 million each day.
With the world’s viewing audience shifting towards digital, could Indian cinema seize this chance to create new genres and business models? As box-office collections from its domestic market have plateaued, it could look elsewhere for growth opportunities.
Though the industry has made progress in adapting to a rapidly shifting cinematic landscape, it still needs better marketing and an even more discriminating audience. Furthermore, they must remain flexible enough to adjust in order to satisfy customer demands.