The Arrival of Sound (1931)

The Arrival of Sound (1931)
Soung along with music arrived in Indian Cinema in 1931 with the grand release of hindi cinema “Alam Ara” on March 14th, 1931 at Majestic Theatre in Bombay. The movie was advertised as ” all talking, all singing, all dancing film”. The film was produced by Ardesir Irani. The movie featured seven songs that built the path for future movies with more music, songs and dance sequences in Indian Cinema. The use of songs become so much popular that it reached it’s maximum of 70 in the 1932 film “Indra Sabha”. Indian movie goers started favoring Hindi cinemas more than the Hollywood productions. Within 10 years from the advent of sound in Indian films, the screening of Hollywood Films had dropped more than 10 percent while the film industries in Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, Madras, Pune grew rapidly.

However, with sound the Indian film makers faced some problems also

  1. The language. There are numerous languages in India. Even in Bombay, there are verious people speaking different languages during that time. So, the film makes had to decide the language of their film. Hindi language was favored by most as hindi was spoken by the majority of the population.
  2. Actors/Actress: During the early silent period of Bengali Cinema many Anglo-Indian woman and wrestlers used to dominate in movies. With sould, film makers needed actors and actresses who can speak, sing and understand the language properly. However, during the early days when Dadasaheb Phalke started to make films, Indian woman vastly refused to work in movies due to social stigma. Public performance such as acting, dancing, singing for women was mostly associated with prostitutes and courtesans. So, acting in films was regarded scandelous for women. In some cases, even the prostitutes refused to work in films as the film would document the nature of their work permanently in front of the public. For the same reason, we see a young man playing the charecter “Queen Taramati” in Phalke’s first film “Raja Harischandra”. Phalke used his own family members in his films to surpass the problem. The women started to act in films by 1920 but were mostly Anglo-Indians and most of the time with a british origin.

Theatre played an important role after the advancement of sound in Indian films. The “talent search” used to begin at the theatres. Another source of talent was from courtesans (Baiji’s). However, after the coming of sound, the indian film industry expanded rapidly. The most important reason being the audience now can hear the music of the songs which are very tradional in Indian culture. Films were made in various different languages however the Hindi Language films dominated the cinema industry. With time, the combined production of south indian language films (Telegu,  Malayalam, Tamil, Kanadda) exceeded the number of hindi films production in a year. Still, Hindi Films remains to be the most commertial and successful in India. There is a general agreement that 50s was the “Golden Age” of Indian cinema. By 1971, the Indian Film industry become the largest in the whole world defeting Japan! 1950s was the time of directors like Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy and more. The first Indian Film Festival was organized in 1952 by the Indian Government.

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