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October 15, 2011

Innovations in Indian Film Industry - Part I

Indians love movies. Thus it is not surprising that India produces the most films in the world. Let us examine some innovations in the Indian cinema over the years.  

1. Mythological movies: Telugu cinema is well known for being the best in the production of folklore, historical, fantasy and mythological films in Indian cinema, a considerable contribution has been made in this genre through critically acclaimed films like Vipranarayana, Palnati Yudham, Narthanasala, Mahamantri Timmarusu, Patala Bhairavi, Maya bazar, Bhakta Prahlada, Bhookailas, Tenali Ramakrishna, Gulebakavali Katha, Dakshayagnam, Sampoorna Ramayanam, Pandava Vanavasam, Lava Kusa, Daana Veera Soora Karna, Alluri Seetharama Raju etc.

The movie that stands out is Maya Bazar. Maya Bazar without argument is the greatest telugu movie of all time. It had the best screenplay. It is said that the Director short only 200 feet of film more than the film length planned. And in 1974 Ramesh Sippy shot three times the length of a full movie. The editors had a tough time to edit it to make a another epic movie – Sholay.  Maya Bazar is a laugh riot and It had the best trick photography ever seen. The movie was shot in 1957.

Marcus Bartley the Anglo Indian cinematographer of Maya Bazar was an exceptional cinematographer. The heroine of the movie is shown as a small girl. She is peeping into the water. The camera moves to the reflection and then onto the face again. To the viewers surprise instead of the small girl he sees the fully grown heroine Savithri. And it was a single short. No fancy editing. In one of the songs Marcus filmed the moon light song in full day light. That song is even today is said to be the best moon song ever filmed. 

The camera tricks that Marcus deployed enthrall the audience even after 55 years. Even grownup squeal in joy seeing laddus magically fly into the mouth of Ghatotkacha. Many people have watched it more than a dozen times and still find the movie to be charming and magical.  

2. Silent movie: Pushpak is a silent comedy released in 1987. This film was directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao and written by Kamal Haasan. Set in a large unnamed Indian city (shot in Bangalore), the film is based on the king-for-a-day story. The film is notable for its inventive re-casting of the silent film format. 

Though shot in color and featuring incidental noise, the film does not have any dialogues. Instead, clever cinematography, implicit and physical communication, and creating scenes or shots where a dialogue would plausibly be absent are used. Additionally, crafty camera placement is sometimes employed to rationalize the inaudibility of dialogue.


  1. very nice article about innovation in indian film industry & i have never read this in film magazines or websites

  2. Thanks Sandeep,

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