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Hindi cinema, often known as Bollywood and formerly as Bombay cinema, is the Indian Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The term is a portmanteau of "Bombay" and "Hollywood". The industry is related to Cinema of South India and other Indian film industries, making up Indian Cinema—the world's largest by number of feature films produced.
Indian cinema has an annual output of 1,986 feature films in 2017. Bollywood is its largest film producer, with 364 Hindi films produced in 2017. Bollywood represents 43 percent of Indian net box-office revenue; Tamil and Telugu cinema represent 36 percent, and the remaining regional cinema constituted 21 percent in 2014. Bollywood is one of the largest centres of film production in the world. In 2001 ticket sales, Indian cinema (including Bollywood) reportedly sold an estimated 3.6 billion tickets worldwide, compared to Hollywood's 2.6 billion tickets sold. Bollywood films tend to use vernacular Hindustani, mutually intelligible by people who self-identify as speaking either Hindi or Urdu, and modern Bollywood movies increasingly incorporate elements of Hinglish.
The most popular commercial genre in Bollywood since the 1970s has been the masala film, which freely mixes different genres including action, comedy, romance, drama and melodrama along with musical numbers. Masala films generally fall under the musical film genre, of which Indian cinema has been the largest producer since the 1960s when it exceeded the American film industry's total musical output after musical films declined in the West; the first Indian musical talkie was Alam Ara (1931), several years after the first Hollywood musical talkie The Jazz Singer (1927). Alongside commercial masala films, a distinctive genre of art films known as parallel cinema has also existed, presenting realistic content and avoidance of musical numbers. In more recent years, the distinction between commercial masala and parallel cinema has been gradually blurring, with an increasing number of mainstream films adopting the conventions which were once strictly associated with parallel cinema.
"Bollywood" is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, California, the centre of the American film industry. Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood is not a physical place; its name is criticised by some film journalists and critics, who believe it implies that the industry is a poor cousin of Hollywood.
According to OxfordDictionaries.com, the word "Bollywood" originated during the 1970s, when Indian cinema overtook Hollywood in film production. A number of journalists have been credited by newspapers with coining the word. According to a 2004 article in The Hindu, journalist Bevinda Collaco coined the word; a Telegraph article the following year report that Amit Khanna was its creator.
According to Madhava Prasad, author of Surviving Bollywood, the term "Bollywood" was preceded by "Tollywood", which then referred to the cinema of West Bengal. The Bengali film industry, based in Tollygunge, Calcutta, was referred to as "Tollywood" in a 1932 American Cinematographer article.
Bollywood Early history (1890s–1940s)
In 1897, a film presentation by Professor Stevenson featured a stage show at Calcutta's Star Theatre. With Stevenson's encouragement and camera, Hiralal Sen, an Indian photographer, made a film of scenes from that show, The Flower of Persia (1898). The Wrestlers (1899) by H. S. Bhatavdekar showed a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Bombay.
Dadasaheb Phalke's silent Raja Harishchandra (1913) is the first feature film made in India. By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films per year. The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara (1931), was commercially successful. With a great demand for talkies and musicals, Bollywood and the other regional film industries quickly switched to sound films.
The 1930s and 1940s were tumultuous times; India was buffeted by the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian independence movement, and the violence of the Partition. Although most Bollywood films were unabashedly escapist, a number of filmmakers tackled tough social issues or used the struggle for Indian independence as a backdrop for their films. Irani made the first Hindi colour film, Kisan Kanya, in 1937. The following year, he made a colour version of Mother India. However, colour did not become a popular feature until the late 1950s. At this time, lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were cinematic staples.
Before the 1947 partition of India, which divided the country into the Republic of India and Pakistan, the Bombay film industry (now called Bollywood) was closely linked to the Lahore film industry (now the Lollywood industry of Pakistani cinema); both produced films in Hindustani, the lingua franca of northern and central India. Another centre of Hindustani film production was the Bengali film industry in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency (now Kolkata, West Bengal), which produced Hindustani films and local Bengali language films.
Many actors, filmmakers and musicians from the Lahore industry migrated to the Bombay industry during the 1940s, including actors K. L. Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand; playback singers Mohammed Rafi, Noorjahan, and Shamshad Begum. Around the same time, filmmakers and actors from the Calcutta film industry began migrating to Bombay; as a result, Bombay became the center of Hindustani film production in the Republic of India after partition. During this time period, actors such as Shantaram, Paidi Jairaj, and Motilal have made their mark.
Bollywood Golden Age (late 1940s–1960s)
The period from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, after India's independence, is regarded by film historians as the Golden Age of Hindi cinema. Some of the most critically acclaimed Hindi films of all time were produced during this time. Examples include Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), directed by Guru Dutt and written by Abrar Alvi; Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955), directed by Raj Kapoor and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and Aan (1952), directed by Mehboob Khan and starring Dilip Kumar. The films explored social themes, primarily dealing with working-class life in India (particularly urban life) in the first two examples. Awaara presented the city as both nightmare and dream, and Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of urban life.
Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957), a remake of his earlier Aurat (1940), was the first Indian film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; it lost by a single vote. Mother India defined conventional Hindi cinema for decades. It spawned a genre of dacoit films, in turn defined by Gunga Jumna (1961). Written and produced by Dilip Kumar, Gunga Jumna was a dacoit crime drama about two brothers on opposite sides of the law (a theme which became common in Indian films during the 1970s). Some of the best-known epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at this time, such as K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Other acclaimed mainstream Hindi filmmakers during this period included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt.
The three most popular male Indian actors of the 1950s and 1960s were Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and Dev Anand, each with a unique acting style. Kapoor adopted Charlie Chaplin's tramp; Anand modeled himself on suave Hollywood stars like Gregory Peck and Cary Grant, and Kumar pioneered a form of method acting which predated Hollywood method actors such as Marlon Brando. Kumar, who was described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray, inspired future generations of Indian actors. Much like Brando's influence on Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Kumar had a similar influence on Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Veteran actresses such as Suraiya, Nargis, Sumitra Devi, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman, Nutan, Sadhana, Mala Sinha and Vyjayanthimala have had their share of influence on Hindi cinema.
While commercial Hindi cinema was thriving, the 1950s also saw the emergence of a parallel cinema movement. Although the movement (emphasising social realism) was led by Bengali cinema, it also began gaining prominence in Hindi cinema. Early examples of parallel cinema include Dharti Ke Lal (1946), directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and based on the Bengal famine of 1943,; Neecha Nagar (1946) directed by Chetan Anand and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zamin (1953). Their critical acclaim and the latter's commercial success paved the way for Indian neorealism and the Indian New Wave (synonymous with parallel cinema). Internationally acclaimed Hindi filmmakers involved in the movement included Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal, and Vijaya Mehta.
After the social-realist film Neecha Nagar received the Palme d'Or at the inaugural 1946 Cannes Film Festival, Hindi films were frequently in competition for Cannes' top prize during the 1950s and early 1960s and some won major prizes at the festival. Guru Dutt, overlooked during his lifetime, received belated international recognition during the 1980s. Film critics polled by the British magazine Sight & Sound included several of Dutt's films in a 2002 list of greatest films, and Time's All-Time 100 Movies lists Pyaasa as one of the greatest films of all time.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the industry was dominated by musical romance films with romantic-hero leads.
Bollywood Classic Bollywood (1970s–1980s)
By 1970, Hindi cinema was thematically stagnant and dominated by musical romance films. The arrival of screenwriting duo Salim-Javed (Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar) was a paradigm shift, revitalising the industry. They began the genre of gritty, violent, Bombay underworld crime films early in the decade with films such as Zanjeer (1973) and Deewaar (1975). Salim-Javed reinterpreted the rural themes of Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957) and Dilip Kumar's Gunga Jumna (1961) in a contemporary urban context, reflecting the socio-economic and socio-political climate of 1970s India and channeling mass discontent, disillusionment and the unprecedented growth of slums with anti-establishment themes and those involving urban poverty, corruption and crime. Their "angry young man", personified by Amitabh Bachchan, reinterpreted Dilip Kumar's performance in Gunga Jumna in a contemporary urban context and anguished urban poor.
By the mid-1970s, romantic confections had given way to gritty, violent crime films and action films about gangsters (the Bombay underworld) and bandits (dacoits). Salim-Javed's writing and Amitabh Bachchan's acting popularised the trend with films such as Zanjeer and (particularly) Deewaar, a crime film inspired by Gunga Jumna which pitted "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan" (Bachchan); according to Danny Boyle, Deewaar was "absolutely key to Indian cinema". In addition to Bachchan, several other actors followed by riding the crest of the trend (which lasted into the early 1990s). Actresses from the era include Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Raakhee, Shabana Azmi, Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi, Rekha, Dimple Kapadia, Smita Patil, Jaya Prada and Padmini Kolhapure.
The name "Bollywood" was coined during the 1970s, when the conventions of commercial Bollywood films were defined. Key to this was the masala film, which combines a number of genres (action, comedy, romance, drama, melodrama, and musical). The masala film was pioneered early in the decade by filmmaker Nasir Hussain, and the Salim-Javed screenwriting duo, pioneering the Bollywood-blockbuster format. Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), directed by Hussain and written by Salim-Javed, has been identified as the first masala film and the first quintessentially Bollywood film. Salim-Javed wrote more successful masala films during the 1970s and 1980s. Masala films made Amitabh Bachchan the biggest Bollywood star of the period. A landmark of the genre was Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), directed by Manmohan Desai and written by Kader Khan, and Desai continued successfully exploiting the genre.
Both genres (masala and violent-crime films) are represented by the blockbuster Sholay (1975), written by Salim-Javed and starring Amitabh Bachchan. It combined the dacoit film conventions of Mother India and Gunga Jumna with spaghetti Westerns, spawning the Dacoit Western (also known as the curry Western) which was popular during the 1970s.
Some Hindi filmmakers, such as Shyam Benegal, Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta, continued to produce realistic parallel cinema throughout the 1970s. Although the art film bent of the Film Finance Corporation was criticised during a 1976 Committee on Public Undertakings investigation which accused the corporation of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema, the decade saw the rise of commercial cinema with films such as Sholay (1975) which consolidated Amitabh Bachchan's position as a star. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released that year.
By 1983, the Bombay film industry was generating an estimated annual revenue of ₹700 crore (₹7 billion, $693.14 million), equivalent to $1.78 billion (₹11,133 crore, ₹111.33 billion) when adjusted for inflation. The most internationally acclaimed Hindi film of the 1980s was Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay! (1988), which won the Camera d'Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.