Indian Cinema - Select Timeline of Some Key Events

1896

First film screening at Watson’s Hotel Bombay, on 7 July, by the French Lumière brothers’ cameraman Marius Sestier.

1897

First films shown in Calcutta and Madras.

1912

Pundalik (Saint Pundalik, 1912, dir. P.R.Tipnis), probably India’s first feature film.

1913

Raja Harischandra (King Harischandra, 1913, dir. D.G. Phalke), India’s first commercially released feature film.

1918

Indian Cinematograph Act enforced as law by the British colonials in India regulating the terms of censorship and cinema licensing.

1931

Alam Ara (Alam Ara, 1931, dir. Ardeshir Irani), India’s first sound film, featuring seven songs.

1947

Independence of Pakistan (14 August) and India (15 August) from British colonial rule and Partition of South Asia into Pakistan, India and then later (1971) into Bangladesh. Separation of the sub-continental regional film industries into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

1951

Awaara (The Vagabond/Tramp, dir Raj Kapoor) starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis is a huge success and launches their popularity as major stars in parts of the former USSR, Africa and the middle East.

1952

The first Indian International Film Festival held in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.

1952

West Pakistan (now Pakistan) bans Indian films.

1955

Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road, 1955, dir. Satyajit Ray) has its world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1957

Mother India (dir.Mehboob Khan) is released. India’s first-ever Academy Awards entry.

1962

East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) bans Indian films.

1964

The National Film Archive of India is founded in Pune.

1973

Zanjeer (The Chain, dir. Prakash Mehra) is released and launches Amitabh Bachchan’s star persona as the ‘angry young man’ of Hindi cinema.

1975

Sholay (Embers, dir. Ramesh Sippy) is released.

1988

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (Until the End of Eternity, dir. Mansoor Khan) is released. A hugely popular Romeo and Juliet-style tragic romance.

1993

Bhaji on the Beach (dir. Gurinder Chadha) is released blending together British, American and popular Hindi cinema styles.

1995

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The Braveheart Will Take the Bride, dir. Aditya Chopra) is released. It marks the arrival of the non-resident Indian (NRI) or diasporic hero, played successfully by Shahrukh Khan.

1998

Dil Se (From the Heart, dir.Mani Ratnam) is released and officially tracked and listed in the UK’s Top Ten box office releases, ahead of several mainstream British and Hollywood films.

2000

IIFA Awards held at the Millennium Dome in London.

2001

Lagaan (Land Tax, dir. Ashutosh Gowariker) is released and is India’s Oscars Award entry the following year.

2002

Bombay Dreams, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical opens at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre in June.

2007

IIFA Awards held at the Sheffield Arena, Yorkshire.