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Indian Cinema History and Functions

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                                                                Introduction

                                           

             Cinema is one of the great inventions of the 19th century. From a mere silent movement of black and white photos it has become a film with speech and sound in it and then with the developments in science and technology cinema has adopted new look and presentation with improved sound and visual effects. For many people, cinema is like a magic and filmmakers exploit this magic to tell stories in different ways at different times.  Cinema is located both as a dynamic cultural institution as well as a highly sophisticated mode of representing the world. Therefore it deals with aesthetics, form, genre and narrative structure. At the same time these issues will also be located within other things such as culture, politics and history.

Cinema is one of the most popular media of communication. It is a combination of several arts like, literature, painting, music, architecture, sculpture, photography, dance etc. Cinema is also a medium of non-verbal communication. In other words, cinema salso peaks through silence, facial expression, body language etc.

There are some signs of social change. Today there are some of films to the life of the subaltern society. The theme of subalternity with its inherent ramifications is yet to find favor among film makers in India. Progressive film makers of the 1960s attempted to address the theme of subaltern and dared to give the subaltern a voice, but they remained singular attempts. They remained as instruments to idolize the hero, to act as a contrast to the elite protagonist or as the poor helpless victims who offer the protagonist an opportunity to display his heroism. When it comes to Tamil films, here are examples of Pa Ranjith’s films Kaala and Kabali. Kaala is story of people in Mumbai, the people who had migrated from Tamil Nadu are living in the Dharavi slum. Kabali is the story of A Kuala Lumpur–based don Kabaleeswaran alias Kabali is released after spending 25 years in prison This study on Pa Ranjith films Kaala and Kabali  tries to analyze the representation of Dalit community in Tamil cinema.

Indian Cinema

India has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world. The history of Indian Cinema goes back to the nineteenth century. In 1896, the very first films shot by the Lumiere Brothers were shown in Mumbai (then Bombay). But history was actually created when Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar popularly known as Save Dada, the still photographer, was so much influenced by the Lumiere Brothers’ production that he ordered a camera from England. His first film was shot at the Hanging Gardens in Mumbai, known as ‘The Wrestlers’. It was a simple recording of a wrestling match which was screened in 1899 and is considered as the first motion picture in the Indian Film Industry.

Father of Indian Cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke released the first ever full-length feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke is now remembered through a life-time achievement award bestowed by the film industry in his name. At that point of time it was really hard to arrange somebody to portray the role of females. Among the middle classes, that association of acting with the loss of virtue, female modesty, and respectability has only recently been put into question.  Indian cinema has seen a great transformation since the early nineteen-thirties. The 1930’s saw the emergence of three big banners in Indian cinema- Prabhat, Bombay Talkies and New Theatres. The first Indian talkie – Alam Ara – was released on March 14, 1931. After that, there was no turning back. Directed by Ardeshir Irani, it was the first Indian film with sound.

During the same period, South India saw the release of two talkies- Bhakta Prahlada in Telugu and Kalidas in Tamil. Following the release of these movies was the till-date-famous Devdas. The period witnessed a remarkable and outstanding transformation of the film industry. Notable filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, and Bimal Roy made movies which focused on the survival and daily miseries of the lower class. The historical and mythological subjects took a back seat and the films with social messages began to dominate the industry. These films were based on themes such as prostitution, dowry, polygamy and other malpractices which were prevalent in our society.

The golden era of Indian Cinema started after independence. Satyajit Ray made Pather Panchali (Song of the Road) in 1955- the first of ‘Apu Trilogy’ and with this film Indian cinema made, its presence felt all over the world. Satyajit Ray who also assisted Jean Renoir on The River made Aparajito (The Unvanquished) in 1957 and Apur Sansar (the world of Apu) in 1958 thus completed the Apu trilogy. Gurudutt’s Pyaasa and Kagaz Ke Phool, B.R. Chopra’s Kanoon; the first Indo-Soviet co-production Pardesi by K.A. Abbas were made during the fifties. Some outstanding films of 50s include Bimol Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen, Raj Kapoor’s Awara and Mehboob’s Mother India.

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