The Lumiere Brothers presented six pictures at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on July 7, 1896, which marked the beginning of Indian cinema as we know it today. The Lumiere brothers were French cinematographers who came to India after demonstrating their filmmaking prowess in Paris. The films were screened on July 7th, 1896, at the Watson Hotel in Mumbai, and tickets were charged at Re.1.
The event was called the “miracle of the century” by the Times of India. The show was well-received, and motion films were shortly released in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai, India (Madras). Three aspects were significant in Indian culture long before the debut of the film (silent or talkies): Natya (drama), Nritya (pantomime), and Nrrita (music-pure dance). Bollywood films have contributed greatly to Indian music by writing some of the most enchanting tunes in Indian music history, and they have symbolized Indian culture with their extravagant song and dance scenes and spectacular costumes.
Films became a sensation in India with the Lumiere brothers’ film presentation in Mumbai, and Professor Stevenson produced a show at Calcutta’s (now Kolkata) Star Theatre the next year. Hiralal Sen, an Indian photographer, used Stevenson’s camera to create a motion picture of moments from that show, titled The Flowers of Persia (1898).
The Wrestlers, directed by H.S Bhatavdekar in 1899 and featuring a wrestling contest in Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens, was the first film ever shot by an Indian. Dadasaheb Phalke (also known as the founder of Indian cinema) created India’s first full-length film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913, which was a silent film in Marathi, by combining themes from Sanskrit epics. Alam Ara, directed by Ardeshir Irani and released on March 14th, 1931, was India’s very first talkie (that is, the first talking film).
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