Dadasaheb's Raja Harishchandra, a silent movie produced
in 1913, marks the beginning of the history of Bollywood,
as Mumbai's huge movie industry is usually referred to.
It was a massive hit and worked as an inspiration for
several skilled and creative people to make their own
films. The advent of talkies in Bollywood cinema was
with Alam Ara in 1931, which was followed by the first
colour film in Hindi, titled Kisan Kanya.
of the Second World War (1939-1945) coincided with the
tumult of the Indian independence movement, and so
Bollywood films during this time were often escapist
fares to bring some joy to the audience in those
difficult times. But, films on social issues were also
produced, like Achhut Kanya, a revolutionary movie that
dealt with the sensitive issue of casteism, besides the
making and release of patriotic movies like Shaheed.
Poverty of the rural masses and undying family values
were depicted with unflinching realism in Mehboob Khan's
Mother India (1957). It was during the same period that
Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor made some of their best films,
and showed their wonderful directorial and acting talent
in movies such as Pyaasa, Awara and Shree 420.
Mughal-E-Azam (1960) was a period piece that brought
Mughal history on the silver screen with great realism.
Cine stars like Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Madhubala and
Nargis became very popular, and the whole nation was
enthralled by the music of SD Burman and OP Nayyar.
Singers like Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar won the
hearts of millions of listeners during the 50s and 60s
with their melodious songs.
Shammi Kapoor, Bollywood's
answer to Elvis Presley, danced his way to stardom in
the rocking 60s. The 70s saw the rise of Amitabh
Bachchan with his characters involved in a fight against
social and political injustice. The action genre
continued into the 1980s, until the nationwide release
of Qayamat se Qayamat Tak in 1988, and since then,
romantic movies have been popular in Bollywood and can
even be seen in the
latest bollywood movies. However, today Bollywood
movies are much more sophisticated and they have created
a global audience.