Bollywood - Where Dreams are made real
Situated in the heart of Mumbai, the Indian movie industry is often referred to as Bollywood. Bollywood, as such, does not have any physical existence. It's just the name which came into existence, probably deriving it's name from Bombay+Hollywood to denote mainly the Hindi movie industry present in Mumbai. Bollywood is that magical place where dreams are born, reality is turned into celluloid, where ordinary people are turned into stars and movies are created to provide the audience with two and a half hrs of stress-bursting time.
Bollywood Historical Timeline
Movies first came to India on 7th July 1896. The Lumiere Brothers brought their cinematographic machine to Bombay and showcased “Arrival of a Train at the Ciotat Station” and “Leaving the Factory” to the audience. Then in 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke came up with Raja Harischandra, which became the first Indian silent feature film. In 1931, Ardeshir Irani released the first sound film made in India, Alam Ara. The first colour film of India, Kisan Kanya, was also made by Alam Ara and released in 1937. The period from 1940 to 1960 is often referred to as the "Golden Age" of Hindi cinema. Major directors and actors like Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor and unforgettable feature films like Pyaasa (1957), Awaara (1951), Shree420 (1955), Mother India (1957), Mughal-e-Azam (1957) and Madhumati (1958) came in during the golden age. It was in the golden age that hindi films began to get noticied in the International market and award functions. Mother India got nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a social film, Neecha Nagar, won the Grand Prize at the first Canned Film Festival. This age laid the foundation stones for the modern age of post 1960's cinema.
The modern cinema period in Bollywood film industry saw the emergence of romantic and action movies with actors like Rajesh Khanna and Dharmendra and sensuous actresses like SharmilaTagore, Helen and Mumtaz. Then mid 1970's saw the coming of the "angry young man" Amitabh Bachchan, which single handedly changed the way we looked at the movies. Sholay (1975) and Deewar (1975) opened an altogether new chapter in the Indian cinema. Sholay turned out to be one of the biggest revenue earners of all time and it's said that at one time, almost everyone living in India had seen Sholay for at least one time. Other major actors of this period were Shashi Kapoor and Mithun Chakraborty, while actresses included Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri (who married to Amitabh and is now known as Jaya Bachchan) and Rekha.
The late 80's and early 1990's history saw romantic musical movies taking centerstage. 1987 saw the first fine sci-fi movie created by Shekhar Kapur, Mr. India (1987). One of the best villain role by Amrish Puri as Mogambo, memorable songs and a unique storyline, gave this movie a classic cult status. New heroes such as Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan gave some unforgettable hindi movies like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol emerged as the lead actresses of this period. The later part of 1990's saw actors such as Govinda and Akshay Kumar providing comic relief and new action sequences to the viewers. Karisma Kapoor reigned in this period and became a national heart-throb.
Post 2000, some of the finest cinematography and innovative stories have been showcased in the Bollywood movies. Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), with fresh new faces Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel, instantly captured nation's attention and turned Hrithik into an overnight superstar. Movies like Koyi...Mil Gaya (2003), Dhoom 2 (2006) and Krrish (2006) further strengthened Hrithik's position in Bollywood. While the three Khan's, Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir, still manage to have huge fans, the new generation heroes like Abhishek Bachchan and heroines like Aishwarya Rai Bachhan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji have been giving hits after hits as well.
Apart from the mainstream commercial cinema, Bollywood has been coming up with a parallel art cinema since 1950s. Do Beegha Zameen (1953) by Bimal Roy and real-life movies by Guru Dutt and Satyajit Ray, added a new perspective to the Indian movie industry. During 1970s, directors like Shyam Benegal, Ketan Mehta and Govind Nihalani continued the good work on realistic cinema. Although nothing much happened in the phase between 1975 to late 1990's for the parallel cinema world, Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay! (1988) gathered a lot of National and International acclaim and is remembered till date as one of the finest Bollywood movies ever made on the daily lives of street-children of Mumbai.
Although, as compared to Hollywood, Bollywood still has a long way to go, but the rate at which the movie quality, picturisation and story lines have been improving, just shows that Bollywood is a force to reckon with. Currently, Bollywood is the largest film producer in India and also one of the largest in the world. All major awards ceremonies across the globe are now taking notice of Bollywood movies not just from the parallel or art cinema sections, but also from the major commercial sections, as was the case with Taare Zameen Par (2007), which was nominated for the Oscars Best Foreign Film Category.