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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Indian cinema

Moving images were first screened in India on 7 July 1896 in Bombay (now Mumbai), and local filmmaking began in the following year. 1913 saw the release of the first Indian feature-length film, Raja Harishchandra/ King Harishchandra, a story from the Mahabharata by D.G. (‘Dadasaheb’) Phalke, a pioneering director who established Bombay as the centre of Indian film production. At this time, there was already a huge, largely urban working-class, cinemagoing public. By the 1920s, a number of self-sufficient production companies were established, and India’s film output had exceeded that of Britain in both quantity and profitability. Other key directors of the silent era include Baburao Painter (Vatsala Haran, 1923) and V. Shantaram (Gopal Krishna, 1929), and the most popular genres of the silent era were dramas in contemporary settings (‘socials’), for example Bilat Ferat/England Returned (Dhiren Ganguly, 1921), and ‘mythologicals’—films based around Indian legends. India’s first sound film, Alam Ara/The Light of the World, directed by Iranian expatriate Ardeshir M. Irani, appeared in 1931, a year in which twenty-seven sound features were made. But the coming of sound raised the issue of India’s many languages, ultimately resolved by the dominance of the ‘All-India’ Hindi song-and-dance film (see Bollywood cinema). Films in other Indian languages were made in centres such as Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Madras (now Chennai): aside from Hindi, the main languages in which sound films were and are made in India are Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Oriya, and Assamese.   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). India, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 05 June 2023

Searching the online catalog

You can use the subject heading below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number range is also included.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding scholarly articles & journal title(s)

You can find scholarly articles about Indian cinema in a variety of publications. We don't have a journal specific to Indian cinema, but you can search in film journals for articles. You can use Film & Television Literature Index, the Screen Studies Collection or Web of Science to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie title(s)

Find more Indian cinema titles in the library's online catalog.