Hindi Cinema completes 100 years, History of Hindi Movies

Hindi Cinema or Bollywood has completed 100 years. Listed below are key historical milestones in Hindi Films. Important Hindi movies, film events, actors, directors, artist are mentioned below. The Indian Hindi Film industry is based out of Mumbai.

1896 Screening of Lumiere moving pictures: 6 short films by the Lumiere brothers were seen on 7 July 1896 at the Watson Hotel in Bombay.

The Flower of Persia (1898) First Indian Short Films: Hiralal Sen’s The Flower of Persia” was the first short films from India. Sakharam Bhatvadekar (Save Dada) exhibited two short films in 1899 which he had shot in 1897.

“Shree Pundalik” (1912) First Indian Film: Ram Chandra Gopal “Dadasaheb” Torne’s “Shree Pundalik” was first shown in Mumbai on 18 May 1912. This is the FIRST INDIAN MOVIE. Even though “Shree Pundalik” was shown almost one year before “Raja Harishchandra”, the later is considered India’s first feature film because it 40 minutes long as compared to “Shree Pundalik” which was 22 minutes long and it was completely processed in India, whereas “Shree Pundalik” was processes overseas. “Shree Pundalik” is a recording of the play “Pundalik”

Dadasaheb Phalke's Raja Harishchandra is the first full Hindi feature film in India, shown in 1913

“Raja Harishchandra” (1913) First full length feature film from India: Dadasaheb Phalke’s “Raja Harishchandra” was first publicly screened on May 3, 1913 in Mumbai. This 40 minute movie is considered the FIRST FULL LENGTH FEATURE FILM from India.

Censor Boards (1920): Censor boards in major cities like Bombay, Chennai, Kolkatta, Lahore came into existence. These censor boards were under the jurisdiction of the local police chiefs. With the implementation of the Cinematograph Act in 1952, one central Central Board of Film Certification was established.

“Alam Ara” (1931) India’s First Talkie: Ardeshir Irani directed India’s first Sound movie “Alam Ara” in 1931. This movie was also the first movie to feature songs. “Alam Ara” set the template of songs in Hindi movie. One distinct element of Bollywood as compared to cinema of the rest of the world is the songs in Indian movies.



“Alam Ara” (1931) India’s First Sountrack: In addition to Alam Ara being India’s first talkie, it also was the first Indian film with songs. “De de khuda ke naam per” is the first song in Hindi films. There were 7 songs in the movie.

“Sham Sundar” (1932) – India’s First Silver Jubilee Film: Made by Producer Dadasaheb Torne, this Hindi and Marathi movie was released in 1932.

“Dokhtar-e-Lor” (1933) India’s First Persian Talkie: “Dokhtar-e-Lor” was the first Persian sound movie in India.

“Noor Jahan” (1934) India’s First English Language Film: Ardeshir Irani made Noor Jahan, India’s first English Langauge film.

“Hunterwali” (1935): Starring Fearless Nadia (Mary Ann Evans), this movie is among the earliest movies with a female lead in Hindi movies.

“Achhut Kanya” (1936): This bold film is a love story between an untouchable girl (Devika Rani) and a Brahmin boy (Ashok Kumar), a taboo subject in those days. This was Ashok Kumar second film. Earlier in 1936 he had made his debut in “Jeevan Naiya”.

“Kisan Kanya” (1937) India’s First Colour Feature Film: Once again Ardeshir Irani directed India’s first color feature film “Kisan Kanya”. V Shantaram’s “Sairandhri” (1935) was India’s first color film that was processed in Germany.

Young Lata Mangeshkar’s first Hindi song “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu" in 1943

Lata Mangeshkar’s First Hindi Song (1943): Lata Mangeshkar’s first Hindi song “Mata Ek Sapoot Ki Duniya Badal De Tu” in 1943 was ironically for a Marathi film “Gajaabhaau”. The Mangeshkar sisters, Lata and Asha Bhosale, have sung the most number of Hindi songs. The versatile Lata Mangeshkar has sung songs in 20 Indian languages. Her contribution to Indian, especially Hindi cinema is immeasurable.



“Kismet” (1943) Ashok Kumar played an anti-hero for the first time: A big hit, this was probably the first time that the main hero (Ashok Kumar) played the role of an anti-hero in a Hindi Movie. Kismet also has an unmarried girl getting pregnant; themes that were bold for the 1940s. Ashok Kumar was considered a Superstar after this movie.

“Neecha Nagar” (1946) First Hindi Film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes: Chetan Anand’s 1946 social film “Neecha Nagar” was the first Hindi Film to win the highest prize at Cannes, the “Palme d’Or” (Golden Palm).

First FilmFare Awards (1954): The first Filmfare Awards were given in 1954. The Best Film was “Do Bigha Zamin”. Best Director was Bimal Roy for “Do Bigha Zamin”. Best Actress was Meena Kumari for “Baiju Bawra” and Best Actor was Dilip Kumar for “Daag”. Dilip Kumar and Shahrukh Khan have won the maximum number of Best Actor Filmfare Awards with each winning 8.

“Mother India” (1957) India’s First Foreign Language Film nomination at the Oscars: Mother India was nominated in the Foreign Language Film category at the 30th Oscars in 1957. Fedrico Fellini’s “The Nights of Cabiria” beat Mother India to the Oscar.

Mother India was the first Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar for Foreign Language Film in 1957

“Kaagaz Ke Phool” (1959) India’s First Cinemascope Movie: Guru Dutt’s masterpiece was India’s first Cinemascope film.

Golden Age of Hindi Cinema, from late 1940s to early 1960s: This period is considered the Golden Age of Hindi cinema. Famous movies during this era are Raj Kapoor’s Awaara (1951), Vijay Bhatt’s Baiju Bawra (1952), Bimal Roy’s Do Bhiga Zamin (1953), Bimal Roy’s Pareenita (1954), Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955), Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955), Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420 (1955), Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), B R Chopra’s Naya Daur (1957), Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa (1957), Binal Roy’s Madhumati (1958), Shakti Samanta’s Howrah Bridge (1958), Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), BImal Roy’s Sujata (1959), K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Famous Indian Hindi movie stars of this era were Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Nargis, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Vyjayanthimala, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman, Mala Sinha, etc. This period was also the era of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.

“Yaadein” (1964) Hindi Movie with only Sunil Dutt in it: This was a unique movie produced and directed by Sunil Dutt which had only him in the movie. Nagris Dutt is also in the movie, but only her silhouette is seen. This movie finds a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for the Fewest actors in a narrative film.

“Through the Eyes of a Painter” (1967) First Indian Film to Win Golden Bear at Berlin International Film Festival: Painter M F Hussain’s short film “Through the Eyes of a Painter” was the first film to win the highest award, Goldeb Bear for Short films, at the Berlin International Film Festival. There were no dialogues and the background music was composed by Elchuri Vijaya Raghava Rao

Dadasaheb Phalke Award instituted (1969): The government of India awarded the first Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969 on the 100th birth anniversary of Dadasaheb Phalke. It is a prestigious Lifetime Achievement award given for contribution to Indian cinema. The first recipient was Devika Rani Chaudhuri Roerich. Some famous recipients related to Hindi Cinema are Pankaj Mullick, Prithviraj Kapoor, Ruby Myers, Nitin Bose, Raichand Boral, Sohrab Modi, Naushad[,Durga Khote, V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Bhupen Hazarika, Dilip Kumar, B. R. Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asha Bhosale, Yash Chopra, Dev Anand, Shyam Benegal, Manna Dey, Kavi Pradeep, K. Balachander.

Late 1960s to Early 1970s: Many romantic movies were made and romantic stars, such as Rajesh Khanna, Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Rakhee, Mumtaz, etc did well during this era. Action too became a part of the standard Hindi movie. Popular movies were Aradhana, Bandhan, Sachaa Jhutha, Kati Patang, Anand, Guddi, Amar Prem, Namak Haram, Roti, Phool Aur Patthar, Seeta Aur Geeta, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Dost, Chupke Chupke, Khilona, Sharmelee, Kabhi Kabhi, Jab Jab Phool Khile, An Evening in Paris, Brahmachari, Teesri Manzil, etc.

Salim-Javed in the 1970s: The decade of 1970s was when the writing partnership of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar was at its peak. Practically all their movies during this period were hits. Salim and Javed played an important role in establishing Amitabh Bachchan as a superstar. He starred in many of their later films. Popular Salim-Javed films are Haathi Mere Saathi, Seeta Aur Geeta, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Zanjeer, Majboor, Deewar, Sholay, Chacha Bhatija, Don, Trishul, Kaala Patthar, Dostana, Shaan, Shakti.

Zanjeer (1973) Emergence of the Angry Young Man: Prakash Mehra and Salim-Javed’s Zanjeer saw the emergence of Amitabh Bachchan as the “angry young man”. It also marked a shift in Hindi cinema from romance to action.

Late 1970s to Late 1990s: This phase of Hindi cinema has not been artistically its best. Hindi cinema saw a large number of B grade action movies during this period. In the 1970s a parallel art cinema had started, but that fizzled out by the late 80s. In the late 80s and 90s, family dramas saw a return (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Maine Pyar Kiya, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, etc). The early 1990s saw the emergence of today’s superstars – Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar.

“Chhota Chetan” (1984) First Hindi 3D movie: Actually this movie was a Malayalam film (“My Dear Kuttichaathan”) which was dubbed in Hindi.

Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay is the second Hindi movie to be nominated for Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

“Salaam Bombay!” (1988) First Hindi Film to win Caméra d’Or at Cannes: Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988) won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes. The Caméra d’Or (Golden Camera) is given awarded for the best first feature film. Salaam Bombay is only the second Hindi Film to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Late 1990s and 2000s in Bollywood: Advent and success of multiplexes has allowed new directors and writers to create movies for niche audiences. Creative film makers who have done well are Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Aditya Chopra, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Farah khan, Milan Luthria, Ekta Kapoor.  Hindi movies have gone international and are now being viewed by the wide Indian diaspora. Technical Quality of Hindi movies has improved drastically and so has the marketing and publicity of movies. The first week of a film’s release has become critical for the producer. Artists are now open to try out new and sometimes risqué stories.

“Monsoon Wedding” First Hindi Film to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival: Mira Nair’s 2001 “Monsoon Wedding” won the first Hindi Film to win the prestigious highest prize, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Previously Satyajit Ray had won it in 1957 for his Bengali film “Aparajito (The Unvanquished)”.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Wins Best Original Song and Music and Best Original Score Oscars: “Jai Ho” was the first Hindi song to win an Oscar for Best Original Score for A. R. Rahman and Gulzar (lyricist).

“Ghajani” (2008) First Bollywood movie to earn more than Rs 100 crore: A. R. Murugadoss directed Ghajani was a Hindi remake of his own Tamil movie by the same name. Aamir Khan plays the role of hero who suffers from short term memory loss.

Aamir Khan's Ghajini was the first film to make over Rs 100 crore in India.

New generation of Hindi Cinema artist from the Film fraternity: Many Hindi movie artist are second or third generation film family people. Actors/actresses whose parents have been in the industry include Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Karishma Kapoor, Tushar Kapoor, Sonam, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Aamir Khan, Esha Deol, Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Abhay Deol, Imran Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Konkana Sen Sharma, Akshaye Khanna, Shahid Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Vivek Oberoi, Fardeen Khan. Second/Third generation writers, directors, producers include Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Ekta Kapoor, Rohit Shetty, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan, Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Bappa Lahiri, Sooraj Bharjatia, Arjun Kapoor, Rohit Dhawan, Ayan Mukerji, Shaad Ali, Sajid Nadiadwala.

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