India is the world’s largest film powerhouse in terms of both the number of films produced and the total number of viewers. Bollywood, the powerhouse of the Hindi film industry, is based in Mumbai, West India. It produces approximately 800 films annually and has an audience of approximately 14 million viewers in India.
Indian cinema celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. In 1912, domestic film production began in India, and in 1913, the first domestic film, King Harishchandra, was released. Of course, it was originally a silent film. In the 1930s, when Indian films became talkies, films began to be produced in different languages, mainly in the major cities of each region, where famous directors and star actors grew up. Furthermore, instead of simply making films by language, films with regional systems and characteristics have come to be made.
Indian cinema as a whole is often erroneously called “Bollywood,” but in reality, “Bollywood” is basically Hindi-language films centered on Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the capital of Maharashtra. The other film industry has a different nickname. Needless to say, “Bollywood” is a coined word of “Bombay + Hollywood”.
Besides Hindi films, there are ‘Tollywood’ which makes films in Telugu, Tamil films, Kannada films and Malayalam films. For example, a hit Tamil film is sometimes released as a remake of the same script, with only the actors replaced by actors from the Hindi film world.
Bengali Cinema era: 1960s-1990s
Bengali movies are movies produced in Bengali, mainly in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the capital of West Bengal. Perhaps because of the locality that produced Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, the country is characterized by highly artistic and social filmmaking. In recent years, around 150 films are produced annually, making it one of the top 10 films produced in India.
Tamil Film era (1st Indian Film Boom): 1998-2002
Films made for Tamil speakers in Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India, are called Tamil films. India’s IT industry has developed mainly in South India, and Tamil movies are the most advanced in terms of the introduction of technology. Boasting around 300 productions per year, it is counted among the top three Indian filmmakers.
“Muthu: The Dancing Maharajah (1995)” opened up a new era of Indian cinema in Japan.
Blank era: 2003-2009
Since 2003, there has been a period of time when almost no Indian films were released in Japan. Despite a few exceptions, it is safe to say that there was a lack of significant progress, as these films failed to achieve satisfactory commercial results. The only bright news is that British director Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), an India-centric masterpiece won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Hindi Film Age (Second Indian Film Boom): 2010s
Hindi films, which use Hindi as the official language of India and the mother tongue of about 40% of the Indian population, are representative of the Indian era. Although Hindi-speaking population is concentrated in northern India, production of Hindi-language films takes place in Mumbai, which is within the Marathi-speaking area, and the whole of India is being considered as a market. In recent years, it boasts about 350 productions per year, and it is almost every year leading the way among Indian films.
Of all the Indian films that have been released to the public in Japan, the one that received the highest praise in terms of both film quality and box office performance was probably “3 idiots (2009)”. Modeled after the Indian Institute of Technology, this human comedy film depicts the turmoil and reunion of a trio who meet at an elite university, and is a masterpiece that cuts into India’s educational problems in the form of an entertainment film.
New Era of Telugu Cinema: 2017～
Along with Hindi and Tamil films, Telugu films form one of the big three. Based in Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Telangana in South India, the audience is mainly Telugu speakers, spoken in the state and Andhra Bradish. Telugu cinema is characterized by an exhaustive pursuit of entertainment. Violence is also high, and the bloodiest and most grotesque works are made.
There are many educational institues related to film making in India. The National Theater School (New Delhi), Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (Kolkata), Asian Academy of Film and Television (Mumbai), Center for Research in Arts, Film and Television (New Delhi) are some of the leading institutions for training artists.
Source: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Compendium of Indian Economy