Regional Cinema in India

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The first feature film to be released in Bengal was J.F.Madan’s ‘Satyabadi Raja Harishchandra’ (1917), produced by the Elphinstone Bioscope Company. In Madras, Nataraja Mudaliar made ‘Keechaka Vadham’ (1919), which was the first silent feature film of South India. In Bombay, the Maharashtra Film Co. released its debut film ‘Sairandhri’ (1919).

The 1930s saw the release of talkie films in different languages. In 1931 the first talkie films were released in Bengali (‘Jamai Sasthi’), Tamil (‘Kalidas’) and Telugu (‘Bhakta Prahlada’). This was followed by release of talkie films in Marathi (‘Ayodhiyecha Raja’) and Gujarati (‘Narasinh Mehta’) in 1932, in Kannada (‘Dhurvkumar’) and Oriya (‘Sita Bibaha’) in 1934, in Assamese (‘Joymati’) and Punjabi (‘Sheila’) in 1935 and in Malayalam (‘Balan’) in 1938. The first Indian film to gain international recognition was Damle and Fatehlal’s Marathi film ‘Sant Tukaram’ (1936), which won an award at Venice.

The first film produced in Lahore (Pakistan) was ‘Khazanchi’ (1941), while the first films in Sindhi (Homi Wadia’s ‘Ekta’) and Marwari (G.P.Kapoor’s ‘Nazrana’) were produced in 1942. After about two decades, the first Rajasthani film B.K.Adarsh’s ‘Babasa Ri Laadi’ (1961) and the first Bhojpuri film ‘Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo’ (1962) were released. In 1964, the first Kashmiri film ‘Naizraat’ was released followed by the release of the first Dogri film Kumar Kuldip’s ‘Gallan Hoyian Beetiyan’ in 1966. The first Manipuri feature film (‘Matamgi Manipur’) and that in Coorgi (‘Nada Manne Nade Koolu’) were released in 1972, which were followed by the release of the first Haryanvi film ‘Beera Shera’ in 1973. The first films in Brij Bhasha (‘Brij Bhumi’), Khasi (‘Manik Raitang’), Malvi (‘Bhadwa Mata’) and Maithili (‘Mamata Gawae’) were made in 1982. The first full-length film in Sanskrit was NFDC’s ‘Sri Adi Shankaracharya’ (1983).

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