Indians suffer from a particularly virulent strain of movie madness. Our love affair started on July 7, 1896, when the first film was screened at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai. It was a series of six short films made by the Lumière Brothers and advertised as The Marvel of the Century, The Wonder of the World. Cinema truly turned out to be that.
In the early 1900s, several short films were made. H. S. Bhatwadekar imported a movie camera from London. J. F. Madan opened the Elphinstone Picture Palace in Kolkata. And one hundred years ago, on May 3rd, Dadasaheb Phalke premiered India’s first feature film, Raja Harishchandra.
Through the 1920s, an industry slowly took shape. A studio system, based on the Hollywood model, evolved. Here, stars were salaried employees. In 1925, the industry was sophisticated enough for co-productions. One of the earliest was Himanshu Rai’s Light of Asia with Munich’s Emelka Film Company.
It is estimated that a staggering 1300 films were made in India during the silent era but only a handful survived. On March 14, 1931, the cinematic landscape was irrevocably altered with the arrival of the first talkie Alam Ara. The film was advertised as ‘All talking, singing and dancing’. It introduced a new element into Indian cinema – songs.
In the 1930s, the studios flourished. Filmmakers dabbled in radical subjects and powerful plots. So a film called Prince Puran told the story of a prince whose stepmother accuses him of molesting her. He is exiled and becomes a saint. The legendary V. Shantaram made Duniya Na Mane about an old man married to a younger woman and in 1936, Bombay Talkies studios released Achhut Kanya, about the love affair between an upper caste boy and a lower caste girl.
In the 1930s, we also got our first and so far only, female action star – the incredible Fearless Nadia.
In 1943, the first bona fide blockbuster hit screens – Kismet. The film, about a petty thief, ran for over three years at the Roxy Theater in Kolkata. Through the 1940s and early 50s, the studios started to lose their power and a new phenomenon took shape – the star system. The 1950s, widely considered the Golden Age of Hindi cinema, were dominated by three stars – Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Each one embodied a different ideal. They personified the dreams and aspirations of a newly born country taking baby steps into freedom and modernity.
The social concerns of the 1950s slowly gave way to a more escapist and flamboyant cinema in the 1960s. Hindi movies were now about blazing color, foreign locations, stylish costumes, trend-setting hair-dos and an increasing Westernization.
In the 1970s, the cloying sweetness of family dramas and romances gave away to the age of discontent. The Angry Young Man arrived like a sledgehammer and for the next twenty years, he couldn’t be budged. Heroines and songs were sidelined by storylines that articulated the anger of a nation, growing increasingly desperate.
The 1980s were a black hole dominated by over-the-top South-style films in which larger than life men spent three hours battling cartoonish villains. The middle-classes retreated to the comfort of home viewing on video. Movies were largely a loud, crass, artistic wasteland.
In the 1990s, the film industry underwent a metamorphosis. The directorial triumvirate of Sooraj Barjatya, Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar changed the game. Young directors, multiplexes, corporate houses created a brave new world of bound scripts, check payments, independent films and soaring ambitions. Mainstream cinema was redefined. The edgy, scatological comedy Delhi Belly was as much a Hindi movie as the crowd-pleasing 3 Idiots.
Today, India is the largest producer of films in the world. Every year, we create over 800 movies that range from Bollywood’s 100 crore blockbusters to small, deeply personal films made in obscure regional languages like Byari. For Indians, cinema isn’t merely entertainment. It’s a religion, an abiding commitment and a collective hope
By Anupama Chopra
The Front Row
By Shevaal Singh
Rating : 7.5/10
Rekha Bhardhwaj’s charmingly haunting ‘Lautungi main tere liye’ (I’ll return back for you) beautifully sets the theme of this tale filled with horror, revenge and witchcraft by an actual witch! The movie is Bollywood’s darkest yet and totally exploits an enticing new genre of cinema .The movie flaunts an incredibly talented star cast comprising of Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi that unquestionably leaves you in awe with their mesmerising acting and performances. ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ is directed by Kannan Iyer who truly deserves recognition for creating a dark , haunting and soul grabbing movie . The movie will surely amaze you with its great performances of the actors. The film however does lacks substance but its illustration of witchcraft and the ancient belief in the presence of ‘Daayans’ really brings this movie to life.
The movie is written by Mukul Sharma and Vishal Bhardwaj. Ek Thi Daayan’ revolves around the life of Bobo (Emraan Hashmi) who is a famous magician whose only support system is his girlfriend Tamara (Huma Qureshi). They make a stunning couple and they decided to adopt an orphan – Zubin. Bobo’s life is almost close to perfect, until he is haunted by a Daayan(Witch) from his childhood that comes back to haunt him and turns his life upside down . He pursues the help of his childhood hypnotist, Dr Palit, whom helps himself untie mysteries of his past and to have a rendezvous with the uncanny side of his life. That is when he is reminded of his sister, father (Pawan Malhotra) and step-mother Diana who is praise-worthily enacted by Konkona Sen Sharma who suddenly appears after Bobo at the age of 11 uses the broken lift to reach the underworld .She is the witch that came from the underworld to find a child to sacrifice so she grows in strength and evokes the demon with the sacrifice. In a state of hypnosis, Bobo remembers his passion for witchcraft and several other incidents that lead to a spooky revelation. The movie was excellent yet I personally expected more in terms of the horror and enticing evilness of the witches. The movie makes you quiver but the climax of the movie needed some spunk and oomph!
It was indeed a revitalizing sight to see Emraan get into a new avatar. As Bobo, he delivers a performance worth applause. Huma Qureshi looks stunning and has proved her acting prowess yet again in a challenging role but shines from the introduction of her character until the end. But the one who will mesmerize you is Konkona. She is an actor par excellence,. Kalki Koechlin as Lisa Dutt, who you would meet in the second half of the film, is subtle but highly impressive. Child actor Visheh Tiwari (young Bobo) is a dynamo of talent!
The Art Direction team has done a praiseworthy job by providing a visually tasteful representation to their spooky side of creativity. The sets emit a sense of paranormal presence and help boosts this tale. Many scenes in this movie send shivers down your spine. The Lunar eclipse, as well as the leap year, the screeching sounds of the daayans were the creepiest parts of this film. The background score and tracks Lautungi Main and Yaaram standout with its brilliant appropriateness in this movie .Kannan Iyer as the head of this project is remarkable. As expected, songs composed by Vishal Bhardwaj touches your soul in a haunting yet beautiful way.
Ek Thi Daayan is a beautiful addition to the many great movies of 2013 thus far. It grows the genre of Bollywood horror and tells a spine chilling tale of witches , witchcraft and the existence of the underworld. Will Ek Thi Daayan bring out your dark side? Watch this movie to find out …
The film is worth watching for its stellar performances and remarkable creativity. The movie gets a 7.5/10 from me and a definite must watch for movie fans who are intrigued by the shady side of Indian Cinema …
Bombay Talkies is a 2013 Indian anthology film consisting of four short films, directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar. The film will release on May 3, 2013, to mark the centenary year of Indian cinema.
The film marks the completion of 100 years of Indian cinema and the beginning of a new era of modern cinema & set to release on the 3rd of May 2013