Roaring Voice Of Bollywood
V. Shantaram: He was one of the early film producers to realize the efficacy of the film medium as an instrument of social change and used it successfully to advocate humanism on one hand and expose bigotry and injustice on the other. Most of his movies are considered classics of Indian cinema: Amar Jyoti (1936), Dunia Na Mane (1937), Admi (1939), Padosi (1941), Shakuntala (1943), Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955) and Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957).
Mehboob Khan: Mehboob Khan, like many other filmmakers of his time, learnt his craft in the Theatre to become one of India's greatest filmmakers. The common motif in his movies usually was the oppressed poor pitted against the oppressive rich. Mehboob was a great lover of music and in all his movies he paid greatest attention to music: Manmohan (1936), Deccan Queen (1936), Jagirdar (1937), Alibaba (1940), Aurat (1940), Roti (1942), Anmol Ghadi (1946), Elan (1947) and Anokhi Ada (1949), Andaaz (1949), Aan (1952) and Mother India (1957).
Sohrab Modi: A stage actor of Parsee Stage, what attracted Modi was the historic genre. Minerva Movietone was famous for the triology- Pukar (1939), Sikander (1941) and Prithvi Vallabh (1943). Modi's other notable movies were Bharosa (1940), Parakh (1944), Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) and Mirza Ghalib (1954).
Raj Kapoor: Producer, director, actor, editor, Raj Kapoor was the greatest entertainer known to Indian films. At the age of 23, Raj Kapoor made his directorial debut with Aag (1948) and followed up with several super hit films: Barsaat (1949), Awara (1950), Boot Polish (1954), Shri 420 (1955), Jagte Raho (1956), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Sangam (1964), Mera Naam Joker (1970), Bobby (1973), Prem Rog (1982) and Ram Teri Ganga Maili Hai (1985).
B. R. Chopra: One of the most celebrated movie mavericks of the Indian celluloid scene in the golden era, B.R.Chopra created immortal classics like Afsana, Ek Hi Raasta, Naya Daur, Sadhna, Kanoon, Gumrah, Humraaz, Pati Patni Aur Woh, Insaaf Ka Tarazoo and Nikah.
Bimal Roy: One of the most successful directors of Hindi cinema, Bimal Roy was famous for his romantic-realist melodramas that took on important social issues while still being entertaining. The most awarded director of the golden era, Bimal Roy was awarded the first three Filmfare awards for Best Director over three consecutive years for Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Parineeta (1954) and Biraj Bahu (1955). He continued to win awards and acclaims for most of his films that followed: Devdas (1955), Madhumati (1958), Sujata (1959), Parakh (1960) and Bandini (1963).
Guru Dutt: Sensitive, poetic, magical, Guru Dutt’s directorial debut Baazi (1951) was not only a super hit but also a trend setter of the urban crime films that followed in the fifties. Aar Paar, released in 1954, established Guru Dutt as a director to reckon with. Followed some of his best work: Mr. And Mrs. 55 (1955), Pyaasa (1957), Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) and Chowdhvi Ka Chand.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee: Known for a number of classic hit films, Hrishida’s films were realistic and did not have crime, violence and vulgarity. Besides Anand, a masterpiece, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s other famous films include Abhimaan, Guddi, Golmaal, Ashirwad, Bawarchi, Satyakam, Namak Haraam, Anari, Asli Naqli, Anupama, Mili, Chupke Chupke, Khubsoorat and Bemisal.
Yash Chopra: Writer, director and producer, Yash Chopra is regarded as one of the hippest and trendiest directors of Indian cinema. Highly acclaimed and awarded director-producer, Yash Chopra has the distinction of winning nine Filmfare awards for Best Director or Best Producer: Waqt (1965), Ittefaq (1969), Daag (1973), Deewar (1975), Lamhe (1991), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and Veer Zaara (2004). His other famous films include Trishul, Kabhi Kabhie, Joshila and Silsila.
Nasir Hussain: Famous for making hit formula movies, Nasir Hussain was one of the most successful filmmakers of the golden era of Hindi cinema. His hit movies include: Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), Caravan (1971), Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973) and Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin (1977).
Manmohan Desai: Renowned producer and director of Hindi films, Manmohan Desai’s string of hits with Amitabh Bachchan made him one of the most successful directors of the golden era. His innings with Amitabh included Amar Akbar Anthony, Suhaag, Naseeb, Desh Premi, Coolie, Mard and Ganga Jamuna Sarswati. 1977 was an exceptional year for him when four films were big blockbusters – Parvarish, Amar Akbar Anthony, Chacha Bhatija and Dharam Veer.
Prakash Mehra: He started in the late 1950s as a production controller. In 1973 he produced and directed Zanjeer. The movie was a super hit and established Amitabh Bachchan as a solo actor and started an association that spawned six more movies – Hera Pheri, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Lawaris, Namak Halal, Sharabi and Jadugar. The hero in Zanjeer typified the raw seething anger of the youth of time – the angry young man.
Manoj Kumar: The patriotic face of Indian cinema, Manoj Kumar established his identity as “Mr. Bharat” with his unforgettable flick Upkaar (1965). All the films he produced and directed always carried his trademark stamp of nationalism and patriotic ferver: Purab Aur Paschim (1970), Roti Kapda Aur Makan (1974) and Kranti (1981).
Mani Ratnam: The director who revolutionized Tamilnadu Cinema, Mani Ratnam became one of the most respected filmmakers of Bollywood after he went into making Hindi films. His films have substance as well as style: Roja (1992), Dil Se (1996) , Bombay (1995), Yuva (2004) and Guru (2007).
Ashutosh Gowariker: One of Bollywood's elite directors, in 2001 Ashutosh directed the period epic Lagaan. The film received critical acclaim and nomination for an Oscar Academy Award in U.S.A. for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2004, Ashutosh directed Swades starring Shah Rukh Khan. Swades received high critical acclaim. Jodha Akbar, a period epic starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, released in 2008, has received much popular as well as critical acclaim and won many awards.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali: A highly acclaimed director, his debut film Khamoshi won several awards. and he emerged as a director to watch. His next movie, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, was a great success and won many awards. Devdas, his next film, was well received at Cannes, where it was premiered. Then came Black, his most praised film to date. Time Magazine (Europe) named the film as one of the Ten Best Movies of the year 2005.
Karan Johar: Karan Johar made his directorial debut in 1998 with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The film was a major box office success and won eight Filmfare awards. His second directorial effort, the multi-starer family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001) was also a huge success. In 2005, his third film as director, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was released, which again was a huge success, especially in the U.S. and U.K. His next production, Dostana (2008) was also a smash hit.
Ram Gopal Verma: RGV began his film career in Telgu Cinema. His first huge success in Bollywood started with the commercial blockbuster Rangeela, a stylish romantic drama with Amir Khan and Urmila Mantondkar. Verma followed up with the ground breaking gangster saga Satya, a violent crime epic set in Mumbai underworld, which won him award for the Best Film. Verma again showed his skill with the corporate crime masterpiece Company. The film was lauded by critics and audiences alike. His next big hits were Bhoot, Sarkar and Sarkar Raj.
Madhur Bhandarkar: Bhandarkar is always known for his socially relevant and hard hitting films. Chandni Bar (2001) was a critically acclaimed success and he won his first National Award for the film. It took Bhandarkar into the top league of filmmakers in Bollywood. This was followed by another critically acclaimed film Satta (2003). His next film Page 3 (2005) did very good business at the box office, was highly acclaimed by critics and won him another National Award. His films Corporate (2006) and Traffic Signal (2007) were also appreciated by the critics and audiences. His next film Fashion was also well applauded and won several awards.
For the most part, Bollywood blockbusters are pure entertainment, famous for their 'masala' – formulaic plot lines, exuberent musical and dance numbers and colorful costumes. However, apart from mere entertainers, Bollywood moviemasters have made many classic masterpieces that have the distinction of achieving awards and receiving recognition at international film festivals:
Amar Jyoti (1936): V. Shantaram's adventure classic has the distinction of being the first Indian film to be screened at the Venice Film Festival.
Sant Tukaram (1936): Directed by Vishnupant Govind Damle, the classic film on the life of Tukaram, Maharashtra's famous 17th century poet-saint, won the Special Remmendation Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Ram Rajya (1943): Vijay Bhatt's alltime greatest mythological is the first Indian film to have been premiered in USA at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cecil B Demelle, one of the greatest makers of historical and mythological movies (Ten Commandments, Sampson and Delilah) wrote a personal note to Bhatt after attending the premier, “Greetings from one director who is still trying to make good pictures to another director who will make great ones long after I am gone.”
Neecha Nagar (1946): The film directed by Chetan Anand and written by Khwaja Ahmed Abbas was the first Indian film to win the coveted Grand Prix Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (1946).
Do Bigha Zamin (1953): Bimal Roy's brilliantly directed film was the recipient of a Special Mention at Cannes (1954) and winner of the Special Progress Award at Karlovy.
Boot Polish (1954): This R. K. Films production won Special Mention at Cannes and its director, Prakash Arora, nominated for Golden Palm.
Jagte Raho (1956): A chillingly honest and stark Raj Kapoor film, Jagte Raho won Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (1957) Crystal Globe Award for its director, Sambu Mitra.
Do Aankhen Bareh Haath (1957): One of the finest movies ever made, V. Shantaram's DABH won Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival (1958) and Samuel Godwyn Award at the Golden Globe, USA (1959).
Mother India (1957): A gem from Mehboob Khan, Mother India was the first Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1958, missing the Oscar by a single vote.
Teesri Kasam (1966): A sensitive and poetic film produced by renowned lyricist Shailender, Teesri Kasam won nomination for Grand Prix at the Moscow Film Festival (1967).
Ankur (1974): Shyam Benegal's unforgettable debut in Hindi, Ankr was nominated for Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival (1974).
Nishant (1975): Yet another brilliant film from Shyam Benegal, Nishant was nominated for Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival (1976).
Mrigaya (1976): Mrinal Sen's most artistically made movie, Mrigaya won nomination for the Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival (1977).
Lagaan (2001): Ashutosh Gowarker's classic. set in India in 1893, Lagaan won Academy Award (USA) nomination for Oscar -Best Foreign Language Film.
Life in India would not be the same without the exuberance of cinema. Song and dance, comedy and melodrama, added to it the relevent messages – Indian films have them all and usually all together in one film. The recent trend in Bollywood, however, is that it works with one eye on the foreign markets. The sets have become more lavish, the costumes more extravagant, the chorus line more glamorous and locations far beyond one can dream of – from the white glaciers of Alaska to the blue waters of Bahamas. This has resulted in remarkable rise in revenues from roaring business abroad, especially in U.S.A., U.K., Australia and the United Arab Emirates. The box-office figures in the foreign market establish the fact that Bollywood films have finally carved a niche for themselves internationally, especially in the U.S. where they do more business than films from any other country. Besides, many big Hollywood studios want a share of the action in Bollywood's busting film industry. It sure adds to India's pride when, along with watcing progress in economic and several other spheres in India, the world is paying rapt attention to the widespread roaring voice of Bollywood.