- Inception: The Silent Era
In 1897, a film presentation by Professor Stevenson featured a stage show at Calcutta’s Star Theatre. With Stevenson’s camera and encouragement, Hiralal Sen, an Indian photographer, made a film consisting of scenes from that show, namely The Flower of Persia. The Wrestlers, by H. S. Bhatavdekar, showing a wrestling match at the Hanging Gardens in Bombay, was the first film to be shot by an Indian and the first Indian documentary film.
The first Indian film released in India was Shree Pundalik, a silent film in Marathi by Dadasaheb Torne at Coronation Cinematograph, Bombay. Some have argued that Pundalik was not the first Indian film, because it was a photographic recording of a play, because the cameraman was a British man named Johnson and the film was processed in London.
- The Sound Era
Ardeshir Irani released Alam Ara, the first Indian film with sound, on 14 March 1931. Irani later produced the first south Indian talkie film Kalidas directed by H. M. Reddy released on 31 October 1931. Jumai Shasthi was the first Bengali talkie. Chittor V. Nagaiah was one of India’s first multilingual film actors, singers, composers, producers, and directors. He was known as India’s Paul Muni. In 1933, East India Film Company produced its first Telugu film, Savitri
- The Golden Age Of Cinema
The period from the late 1940s to the early 1960s is regarded by film historians as the Golden Age of Indian cinema. Satyajit Ray is recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.
This period saw the emergence of the Parallel Cinema movement, mainly led by Bengalis, which then accounted for a quarter of India’s film output. The movement emphasized social realism. Early examples include Dharti Ke Lal (1946, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas), Neecha Nagar (1946, Chetan Anand), Nagarik (1952, Ritwik Ghatak), and Do Bigha Zamin (1953, Bimal Roy), laying the foundations for Indian neorealism and the Indian New Wave.
- The Blockbuster Era
Realistic Parallel Cinema continued throughout the 1970s, practiced in many Indian film cultures. The FFC’s art film orientation was criticized during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema.
Hindi commercial cinema continued with films such as Aradhana (1969), Sachaa Jhutha (1970), Haathi Mere Saathi (1971), Anand (1971), Kati Patang (1971) Amar Prem (1972), Dushman (1972), and Daag (1973). Hindi cinema was experiencing thematic stagnation, dominated by musical romance films.
- The Independent Era
The spreading of television and its organized production capabilities enabled audiences to have more choice, forcing cinemas to fight against TV with film productions that clearly outclassed anything that could be seen on the home screen. Movies in cinemas become more mature, and avant-garde, foreign films started to appear in cinemas, and distribution rights were in flux
- New Age Cinema
Today, films are created all over the world, 3D technology for the cinema, online streaming platforms for home entertainment, the rise of documentary film as a commercial genre, more sophisticated home theatre systems, special edition DVDs, globalization of cinema this was the first decade of the 21st century in a nutshell.
The continued evolution of film technology brought about a paradigm shift in how movies are made as well as consumed. Cinema has revolutionized in terms of production, distribution, and the overall experience itself. Today, films are produced with high-tech digital cameras, computer-generated effects added in postproduction, and showcased not only in theatres but also on websites and online streaming platforms to a worldwide audience.