Gujar hua zamana aata nahi dobara…, sung by vocal maestro Lata Mangeshkar, this song from the film Shireen Farhad (1956), once upon a time, used to be an effective tool to remember the bygone days. Then in the era of globalization, songs like old jeans and guitar… with the dance of pop worked like a balm for years to remind us of the days of mohalla ki chhat and college canteen. Today, in the era of social media, the same work is being done with the help of throwbacks, which take cine lovers on a journey of 100-50 years of silver screen, which is becoming a trend to see, understand and share.
Indeed, memories are priceless. Documents and heritage become if kept safe. If attached to the heart, it can become a friend and a lover. This sim-sim of past, history, memories, stories and legends should be explored by both the audience and the director. It gives a different freshness.
Every year in the last five-ten days of December, review, assessment, discussion, brainstorming of important events of the year, like a tradition, has been going on in the media for years, but throwback threads related to cinema, a systematic review Let’s increase the duration many times, due to which there is a feeling of thrill. A common viewer finds himself a time traveler when he sees that religious, devotional and mythological films like Nal Damayanti, Dhruv Charitra, Ratnavali and Savitri Satyavan were made by directors from Italy and France a hundred years ago for an Indian banner. were staying And just think about how difficult it would have been to make films a hundred years ago i.e. in 1922-23 during the British rule. Then there must have been a severe lack of things and experience related to film making. Yes, maybe there was no shortage, only passion and experimentation.
thrill of memories
In the form of period drama or costume drama, the past or its associated memories have been presented in an exciting way. The latest example is producer-director Rohit Shetty’s film Circus, releasing on Christmas this year, in which the memories of the 60s have been preserved in a lavish manner. Let’s see in what form Rohit Shetty is taking the journey of memories of the 60s after 60 years.
The emphasis is on how our life was sixty years from now. How was the society, how was the home-family, friendship etc-etc. When there was no mobile and television was also in very few homes, what was the importance of entertainment. How was the world of news. We all know how Rohit Shetty makes entertaining films. This time, his focus is visible on making the thrill of the past feel in the present, for which he has prepared his quiver from William Shakespeare’s play Comedy of Errors, considered to be an infallible arrow of laughter and humor for centuries.
Actually, it is a matter of six decades ago to say, but there is a lot of difference between then and today’s things. Today, of course, we have innumerable means of getting entertainment every time, everywhere, but you may be surprised that the daily broadcast on television started in the year 1965. Then the population was more than 43 crores, but the number of telephones in the country would have been less than an estimated 10 lakhs. STD service started in India in 1960. Earlier, with the help of the operator, trunk calls were booked for long distance calls.
Talking about telephone, in the voice of Talat Mehsud S. Composed by D. Burman, a song ‘Jalte Hain Jiske Liye…’ from the film Sujata (1959), picturized on actor Sunil Dutt and actress Nutan. In this song of about four and a half minutes, the hero (Sunil Dutt) is telling his heart condition to the inconsolable heroine (Nutan) holding the receiver on the telephone in his romantic style. Going back a further ten years, the song ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon Wahan Se Kiya Hai Telephone…’ from the film Patanga (1949) comes to mind, which has a phone at its centre. You can see how people would have been interested in the phone through films in that era.
Sujata, directed by Bimal Roy, has a place of its own on the scales of excellence, which reached the Cannes Film Festival in 1960. On the one hand this year. The historical film Mughal-e-Azam directed by Asif was released, on the other hand, the film Hum Hindustani depicting the changing India and challenges after independence also came.
Indian cinema was in the last phase of its golden age (1940 to 1960). Film Finance Corporation (FFC) was then established to protect and promote off-beat cinema, so that financial assistance could be given to filmmakers. However, only a decade before this i.e. in 1950, Indian cinema was counted as the second largest film industry in the world, with an annual gross income of $250 million (in 1953).
Let’s see the scope of throwback from seventy to hundred years. Maybe the level of thrill will increase further. That is, if we look at the situation in 1922-23 or that entire decade, we can see how the era of silent films was taking a turn in British India. Entertainment tax on films was first imposed in 1922 (Bengal) and then in Bombay in 1923.
Many other significant things happened throughout this decade. Such as the formation of the Censor Board and the banning of Bhakta Vidur, produced by Kohinoor Film Company and directed by Kanjibhai Rathod, which is said to be the first controversial and banned film. Author Roy Armas, in his book Third World Film Making and the West, mentions that by now the number of film productions and cinemas had nearly doubled and we were overtaking Britain in this area. And then at the end of the decade, when Wall Street crashed, many Hollywood studios started coming to India to explore the possibilities of a golden future in the budding film industry.
a link to the Past
You must have often heard elders saying that when nothing is going well, it is better to sit quietly for a while than to beat hands and feet. One must remember those days of struggle when things were slowly taking shape. If not our own, then the glorious history of our elders teaches us a lot. The Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory (2009), directed by Paresh Mokashi, which won several domestic and foreign film awards, including the 56th National Film Award, depicts how Dadasaheb Phalke was instrumental in the making of the first Indian film, Raja Harishchandra (1913), to worldwide acclaim. Had to face difficulties and hardships.
Paresh Mokashi’s career began as a backstage artist in theatre. Then after spending a long time in this world as a writer and director, when he started making his first film, Harishchandrachi Factory, he also faced many challenges. Filmmaking was completely new to him as compared to theatre. It took three years to find a producer and arrange money. After repeatedly hearing that the film should be made in Hindi instead of Marathi, take a big star and add music, Mokashi decided to make the film himself and says that he had to mortgage his house for this.
Even if the comparison is not made, it seems at first sight that Phalke and Mokashi had similar problems in making their first film. The productions of independent filmmakers have an incomparable contribution to the prosperity of Indian cinema. There are many such examples before and after the advent of studio culture, when such filmmakers have put their words against the wind. At a time when the economic condition of the Hindi film industry is not the same due to many legitimate and illogical reasons and it is often criticized for its content and presentation, among other things, the promising minds of the film fraternity take a leisurely throwback look at the history of Indian cinema. I should have a look.
Especially the children of those film families, whose past is full of silver-golden jubilee of glorious and successful films. Realizing this, hundred or seventy years ago there were neither the facilities like today nor the scale of success, how would their forefathers have set their feet. Almost everyone started from zero without any training and experience. At that time, our film industry was just learning to walk, then the First World War, the Spanish Flu, the Global Depression and shortly after the Second World War happened, which had a huge impact on many things. But slowly our filmmakers kept moving forward.
It took 18 years to go from the first silent film to the first talkie, Alam Ara (1931), but by then we were in the limelight. Sant Tukaram (1936), made in Marathi language, was the first Indian film to enter an international film festival. It became the first such film which ran continuously in the same cinema hall for a whole year. Suddenly the surroundings were changing very fast. Dance-song musical films started being made, the first color film Kisan Kanya (1937) was made. Even the first film against the background of the film industry was made in Telugu in Vishwa Mohini (1940). And for the coming two decades from here, Indian cinema lived its best phase, which historians call the Golden Age of films.
In fact, reliving the memories of the past here today only means that our film history of more than a hundred years is so rich, full of struggle and creativity that we have to look elsewhere to recover from bad times. Probably not needed. We see how many of our fellow and senior journalist brothers from time to time keep coming face to face with legendary film personalities and unheard stories of the olden times. Recently, in this blog section, lyricist Shailendra was remembered on his 56th death anniversary. The inclusion of Satyajit Ray’s classic film Pather Panchali in the 2022 list of all-time great films by the British magazine Sight & Sound commemorated Ray and the film. Filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee remembered on the occasion of his birth centenary, with reference to Indian cinema and Amitabh Bachchan. In the beginning of the article, the meaning of throwback is that we should not only look back but also stop for a while.
A few days ago, in his address of more than thirty minutes in Kolkata, Mr. Bachchan summarized the history of 110 years of Indian cinema in a very tight manner for the first twenty-two minutes only. He also referred to the film which was shown publicly for the first time in Paris in 1895 and told how our film industry has been able to present its views despite adverse circumstances in these hundred years.