The Beginning

Before we start discussing about the Bengali Film history, let us take a short peek into the history of cinema itself. History of world cinema began more than 200 years back. Initially motion pictures were “carnival novelty”. Cinema has gone through many stages of revolution to reach the current state of “entertainment”, “communication” and “mass media”.

Roundhay Garden Scene” made by Louis Le Prince on , in Roundhay, Yorkshire, England was only of 2 seconds duration and considered to be the earliest surviving motion picture.

Edweired Maybridge, even earlier in 1878, photographed a horse named :Occident” in fast motion. He used a series of 12 stereoscopic cameras. In 1893, Maybridge gave a series of lectures on the Science of Animal Locomotion in Chicago. A hall was specially made to that can display the motion pictures he took using his “zoopraxiscope”. That is considered to be the beginning of commercial movie theater.

Willium Kennedy Laurie Dikson is credited for the invention of practical use of celluloid strips containing sequence of images.

In 1893, Thomas Edison introduce two revolutionary products to the world – Kinetograph and Kinetoscope. Kinetograph was the first practical moving picture camera.

Kinetoscope was speciallymade containing a cabinet with continuous loops of celluloid films powered by electric motor. The Kinetoscope was powered by “incandescent lamp” and a “magnifying lens”. An eye-piece was attached for the spectators to view the motion pictures. Kinetoscope parlours were supplied with film snippet photographed by Dikson in Edisions “Black Maria” studio. Kinetoscope parlors took no time spread all over the Europe.

Robert W. Paul, a British electrician and scientific instrument maker, invented a “film projector”. He was more interested in displaying films to a larger mass than few people at a time. He made is first public display in 1895.

About the same time, in France, Cinematograph was invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere. Cinematograph was a 3 in 1 device that allowed printing, filming and projecting films. In late 1985, father Antoine Lumiere started exhibitions of projected films. Public had to pay to watch such exhibitions. The beginning of making filming a lucrative business. Anthonie Lumiere soon became the main producer. They are known for famous shows ” Works leaving the Lumiere Factory (1895)” and the comic vignette “The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895).

Thomas Edition, who was initially dismissive about projections, joined the trend with his new “Vistascope” within six months.

The first public motion picture film presentation in Europe however belongs to Max and Emil Skladanowsky of Berlin who used their own Bioscope to project film during November 1 to 31st, 1895.

Intrusion of Film in India

So far, we tried to compile a small introduction to the history of cinema. We have seen the evolution of motion pictures. You may be familiar with some of the terms we used. But certainly you are certainly aware of Bioscope, or at least heard about it from your grand parents.

Soon after the development of the science behind motion pictures, it was realized that there exist a great deal of business opportunities in motion picture. Motion films, or cinema was used a commodity and improved rapidly over time. Just as any other business, the motion picture film was searching for a greater audience. India, with it’s large population and economic growth, was a great domestic market.

The first Motion picture in India

It was July 7th in 1886. Agents of Lumiere Brothers came to Bombay’s Western Hotel to show “Living Photographic Pictures in Life Size Reproductions“. In December of the 1986, Mr. Stephen brought the magic of moving pictures of running horses and railway trains to Calcutta.

During the time of early entrance of cinema, theater was the primary mode of entertainment to the upper-middle class people in Calcutta. The promoter and owners of the theaters in Calcutta found that displaying short “Bioscope Exhibition” was a novelty and also an added attraction to bring people to the theater. Those Bioscopic Plays were usually 2-3 minutes long and normally represent some kind of advertisement at the beginning or end of the play.

Royal Bengal Theater announced “Bioscpic Shows” for 5 days in December, 1900. Star theater was another one that displayed “Bioscopic Shows” in Calcutta in all stage performances during October 1898 to January 1899. The other theater that took a deeper interest in Bioscopic Films was Classic Theater of Amarendranath Dutta.

So, even before the start of nineteenth century, Calcutta (Kolkata) along with India was not far behind with the rest of the world in terms of Cinema Trend. Now it was time for some of our own people to explore the world of motion pictures. Hiralal Sen was one of the first few people jumped into the industry of motion films. He is considered to be the pioneer of Indian Cinema.


4 thoughts on “History

  1. dear sir lovely website but their is a mistak in the year of first motion picture in india kindly correct it is it 1986 or 1886

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