- Bengali cinema
The history of cinema in
Bengaldates back to the 1890s, when the first " bioscopes" were shown in theatres in Calcutta. Within a decade, the first seeds of the industry was sown by Hiralal Sen, considered a stalwart of Victorian eracinema [http://www.victorian-cinema.net/sen.htm Who's Who of Victorian Cinema. Hiralal Sen] ] when he set up the Royal Bioscope Company, producing scenes from the stage productions of a number of popular shows at the Star Theatre, Minerva Theatre, Classic Theatre. Following a long gap after Sen's works, [http://www.bangladesh.net/cinema/page2.htm Pioneers of Bangladeshi Cinema] ] Dhirendra Nath Ganguly(Known as D.G) established Indo British Film Co, the first Bengali owned production company, in 1918. However, the first Bengali Feature film, Billwamangal, was produced in 1919, under the banner of Madan Theatre. Bilat Ferat was the IBFC's first production in 1921. The Madan Theatreproduction of Jamai Shashthiwas the first Bengali talkie. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316049/ IMDB page on Jamai Shashthi] ] A long history has been traversed since then, with stalwarts such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Senand Ritwik Ghatakand others having earned international acclaim and securing their place in the movie history.
On the other side of the border,
Mukh O Mukhoshwas released on 3rd August 1956, written and directed by Abdul Jabbar Khan, based on his drama scrip Dacoit, produced by Nuruz Zaman and Shahidul Alam, distributed by Iqbal Films and acted by Inam Ahmed and Zahrat Azra.
Two film industries
Today, there are two Bengali-language film industries, one in
Tollygunge, in Kolkata, India, called " Tollywood" a portmanteauof the words " Tollygunge" and " Hollywood", formally known as Bengali film industry) [http://www.indfy.com/kolkata/special-attractions/tollywood-trip.html] [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1251462050.cms] is one of many centres for Indian regional filmmaking, and the other one in Dhaka, Bangladesh, also called "Dollywood" Dhallywood), a portmanteauof the words "Dhaka" and " Hollywood", is the mainstream national film industry of Bangladesh.
Hiralal Senis credited as one of Bengal's, and India's first directors. However, these were all silent films. Hiralal Sen is also credited as one of the pioneers of advertisement films in India. The first Bengali-language movie was the silent feature " Billwamangal", produced by the Madan Theatre Company of Calcutta and released on November 8, 1919, only six years after the first full-length Indian feature film, " Raja Harish Chandra", was released. [ [http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/F_0076.htm BANGLAPEDIA: Film, Feature] , accessed 27-VII-2006]
The early beginnings of the "talking film" industry go back to the early 1930s, when it came to
British India, and to Calcutta. The movies were originally made in Urduor Persian as to accommodate a specific elite market. One of the earliest known studios was the East India Film Company. The first Bengali film to be made as a talkiewas Jamai Shashthi, released in 1931. It was at this time that the early heroes of the Bengali film industry like Pramathesh Baruaand Debaki Bosewere at the peak of their popularity. Barua also directed a number of movies, exploring new dimension in Indian cinema. Debaki Bose directed Chandidas in 1932; this film is noted for its breakthrough in recording sound. Sound recordist Mukul Bose found out solution to the problem of spacing out dialogue and frequency modulation.
1950s and beyond
The contribution of Bengali film industry to Indian film is quite significant. Based in
Tollygunge, an area of South Kolkata, West Bengaland is more elite and artistically-inclined than the usual musical cinema fare in India. In the past, it enjoyed a large, even disproportionate, representation in Indian cinema, and produced film directors like Satyajit Ray, who was an Academy Honorary Awardwinner, and the recipient of India and France's greatest civilian honours, the Bharat Ratnaand Legion of Honor respectively, and Mrinal Sen, who is the recipient of the French distinction of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and the Russian Order of Friendship.
Other prominent film makers in the Bengali film industry are
Bimal Roy, the late Ritwik Ghatak, and Aparna Sen. The Bengali film industry has produced classics like ' Pather Panchali', 'Devi', ' Jalsaghar', ' Devdas', ' Neel Akasher Neechey', ' Meghe Dhaka Tara' etc.
The most well known
Bengali actor to date has been Uttam Kumar; he and co-star Suchitra Senwere known as "The Eternal Pair" in the early 1950s. Soumitra Chatterjeeis a notable actor, having acted in several Satyajit Rayfilms, and considered as a rival to Uttam Kumarin the 1960s. He is famous for the characterization of Feludain Sonar Kellaand Joy Baba Felunath, written and directed by Ray.
The pioneers in Bengali film music include
Raichand Boral, Pankaj Mullickand K. C. Dey, all associated with New Theatres Calcutta[http://members.tripod.com/oldies_club/new_theatres_calcutta.htm New Theatres Calcutta ] ] . Other famous playback singers in Bengali film music were Hemanta Mukherjee, Manna Dey, Sandhya Mukhopadhyayand Kishore Kumar.
In the 1980s, however, the Bengal film industry went through a period of turmoil, with a shift from its traditional artistic and emotional inclinations to an approach more imitating the increasingly more popular Hindi films, along with a decline in the audience and critical appreciation, with notable exceptions of the works of directors like
Gautam Ghose. However, even at this time, a number of actors and actresses enjoyed popularity, including Tapas Pal, Prosenjit, Chiranjit, Rituparna Senguptaand others. However, toward the end of the 90s, with the a number of directors coming increasingly into prominence, including Rituparno Ghosh, Gautam Ghose, Aparna Sen, Sandip Rayamong others, a number of popular and critically acclaimed movies have come out of the Bengali film industry in recent years. These include, Unishe April, Titli, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Bombaiyer Bombete, etc and signal a resurgence of the Bengali film industry.
The market for Bengali films has expanded to a 340-million-strong Bengali audience in
Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tripuraand Assam. The industry could truly flourish if films from this state have a proper distribution network. While around 50 films are produced in West Bengal every year, only 30 make it to the theatres. [http://www.screenindia.com/news/Bengali-cinema-in-independent-India/347909/]
Bangladeshi movie industry
Bangladeshi film industryis based in Dhaka.As of 2004, it produced approximately 100 movies a year. The average movie budget was about 12 crore Bangladeshi taka. [http://www.thingsasian.com/goto_article/article.2790.html Bangladeshis reject "smutty" Bengali films, AFP/Helen Rowe] , accessed 27-VII-2006]
List of Bengali films
South Asian cinema
* [http://www.tollynewz.com/ TollyNewZ.com..A Portal on Bengali Cinema]
* [http://www.calcuttaweb.com/cinema/cinema.shtml Bengali cinema at Calcuttaweb]
* [http://www.binodontv.com BinodonTV.Com]
* [http://www.dallywood.com/ Dallywood site]
* [http://mail.sarai.net/pipermail/reader-list/2003-September/008496.html History]
* [http://www.banglacinema.net/ A Portal on Bengali Cinema]
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