The birth of Bollywood can be traced back to 1913, the year in which Dadasaheb Phalke’s silent film Raja Harishchandra hit the theatres. The film’s popularity inspired creative people and technicians to venture into film making. After the silent age came the talkies, and the very first Hindi sound film Alam Ara hit the screens in 1931, followed by the first colour film Kisan Kanya.
During the Second World War and the period of independence movement in the 40s, Bollywood seemed to turn away from the grim reality and focused on making escapist movies to provide some much needed joy to the masses. Achhut Kanya that dealt with the controversial issue of untouchability, and Shaheed, that was strongly patriotic in its storyline.
Poverty in villages and undying family values were remarkably depicted in Mehboob Khan’s Mother India, which was released in 1957. During the same time, legendary actor and director Raj Kapoor directed two remarkable films – Awara and Shree 420 – and director Guru Dutt also gifted the audience such wonderful films as Pyaasa. Mughal-E-Azam, an epic movie released in 1960, recreated the Mughal age on celluloid like never before.
Cine stars like Dev Anand and nargis became household names, and the entire nation hummed to the tunes of SD Burman and OP Nayyar. Singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi won the hearts of millions of listeners during the 1950s and 60s with their melodious songs.
Shammi Kapoor carved out a career as a rocking star of the 60s with his on-screen histrionics and Elvis-like looks. Amitabh Bachchan with his angry young man image ruled the box office in the 70s. Audiences in the early and mid 80s were hooked on to action films, but the nationwide release of Qayamat se Qayamat Tak in 1988 changed the paradigm and romantic films became well known, and their popularity has continued till the present day and is quite significant in the latest Bollywood movies. But today Bollywood possesses well trained professionals and state of the art equipment, capable of creating movies that often get international recognition.
Nadeem Sarwar – Alam Abbas Ka 2003