7 July: The birth of Indian Cinema

In the 21st century, one of the most flourishing cinema industry is in India. From the first silent movie Raja Harishchandra and the first talkie Alam Ara to the Bollywood industry,  Indian cinema has evolved to a greater extent and is the one of the most loved and appreciated cinema industry worldwide.

 However,the beginning of  cinema in India is still not known by many people and how cinema came to Mumbai (Bombay) is a lesser known event in the history of Indian cinema.There is a fascinating prequel to the Indian Cinema that goes back to the era of silent films in 1890 and the pioneers of Indian cinema were foreigners, the Lumiere brothers from France.
lum brother
Lumiere brothers
On July 7, 1896 the Lumiere brothers showcased six films at the Watson hotel in Mumbai(then Bombay) and this event marked the advent of cinema in India as we know today. The six films screened that day were : Entry of Cinematographe, The Sea Bath, Arrival of a Train, A Demolition , Ladies and Soldiers on Wheels and Leaving the Factory. The ticket price of this screening was kept at Re. 1 and it was quoted by The Times of India ‘as a miracle of the century’.
Another screening by the Lumiere brothers was held at the Novelty Theatre in Bombay on 14th June, twenty-four films were screened at that day along with Thames at the Waterloo Bridge and A Stormy Sea.
After the film screening by Lumiere brothers in Bombay, cinema became a sensation in India. Later in Calcutta(Kolkata) a professor Stevenson staged a show at the Star Theatre.In the following years, the country had a wave of cinema coming. Using the camera used by Stevenson, Hiralal Sen, an Indian photographer made a motion picture of scenes from that show.
It is also interesting to know that the first ever film to be shot by an Indian was The Wrestlers made in 1898 by H.S. Bhatavdekar, which was depicting a wrestling match in Mumbai’s Hanging Garden. This was also the first documentary film.
A scene from the film Raja Harishchandra
Gradually, Indians understood all the technicalities related to the production and distribution of movies. The first full length Indian movie was made by Dadasaheb Phalke( the Father Of Indian Cinema) which was a silent film in 1913, called ‘Raja Harishchandra’. The film was a landmark in the Indian cinema and was a great commercial success too. It inspired many other films in the making.
In the year 1931, India got its first Talkie film Alam Ara, by Ardeshir Irani.
Today, the Indian Film Industry is one of the biggest and fastest growing industries with approx more than 2000 feature films being produced every year and Bollywood being the largest producer of films in India with almost 400 movies releasing every year.
 Like the past, Indian cinema is still continuing to win more and more laurels and awards for the country and the credit for the establishment of Cinema in India goes to the Lumiere brothers, who brought a sensation in the people and ignited the spark towards motion pictures.

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