There's more to movies in India than just Bollywood.


One of the forerunners in introducing cinema to the Indian masses in 1890, Bengali cinema has been bifurcated as ‘Tollywood' and ‘Dhallywood' vis-a-vis the zones it thrives in: Bengal and Bangladesh. This industry is credited with many ‘firsts' such as ‘first Indian director', ‘pioneering the talkies era', and also ‘stirring up the parallel cinema movement'. Tollywood has given us some of the most talented creative geniuses like Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, and Ritwik Ghatak. Films like ‘ Pather Panchali', ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara', and ‘The Apu Trilogy' have created an indelible imprint on the hearts of cine-lovers for decades now. This successful innings continues via contemporary filmmakers like Aparna Sen known for her path-breaking films like ‘36 Chowringhee Lane', Gautam Ghose (‘Paar', ‘ Kaalbela') and Rituporno Ghosh whose radical creations like ‘Chokher Bali', ‘Abohoman' and most recently ‘Nouka Dubi' have taken not just Bengal but even Bollywood audiences by storm. But then, who said that Bengali cinema ever lay complacent within its own boundaries?


The second-largest film industry in India in terms of revenue and distribution, Tamil cinema has found enthusiastic takers in Africa, America and Europe in the little-more-than-a-century of its existence. Known for its socially oriented dramas as well as elaborate musicals, the industry has spawned titans like Sivaji Ganeshan, M.G. Ramachandran and of course, Rajanikanth, who have generated mass hysteria during their respective reigns. Stellar studios like Gemini; attractive sops from the government; and presence of talents like Ilaiyaraja, Kamal Hasan, Mani Ratnam, A.R.Rahman and Prabhudeva have contributed immensely to taking Tamil cinema to staggering heights. Movies like ‘Roja' ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain' and in later times ‘Sivaji', and ‘Dasavataram' continue to lend a golden touch. The future looks even brighter as talents like Vettrimaaran and Prabhu Solomon leave their imprint on the Tamil film industry.


Having seen a massive downslide in the 1980s in the face of stiff competition from the more glamorous Bollywood, Marathi cinema returned with a vengeance in 2004 with the Oscar-nominated Shwaas. Following that, there has been no looking back with landmark films like ‘Natrang' and ‘ Harishchandrachi Factory' (the second Marathi film to be nominated to the Oscars), apart from other hugely-acclaimed ones like ‘Mee Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy', ‘Vihir', ‘ Maati May', ‘Jogwa' and many others. Support from the state government as well as emergence of channels like Zee Talkies (dedicated to Marathi movies) went a long way in resurrecting Marathi cinema. Biggies like ABCL and Big Entertainment are now producing Marathi films. With the emergence of talented directors like Umesh Kulkarni and Satish Rajwade and the range of topics from rural comedy to contemporary family drama, Marathi cinema has such a variety of attractions that no one can resist its pull!


A fairly recent entrant to the world of entertainment, Bhojpuri cinema has taken the world by storm in the barely five decades of its existence. So much so, that it has already ventured beyond its original comfort-zone of North India to reach as far as Mauritius, Brazil and South Africa! Starting with ‘ Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo' and reaching a comfortable stage in 1980s with films like ‘Mai' and ‘Hamaar Bhauji', the Bhojpuri film industry went through a downslide in the 1990s; only to re-emerge in a new, hugely successful avatar post-2000 with ‘Saiyyan Hamaar'. This film, which catapulted actor Ravi Kissan to staggering heights of fame, was followed by other productions like 'Sasura Bada Paisewala' which saw actor Manoj Tiwari also acquire a huge fan following. With Bhojpuri cinema grossing some of the best revenues ever, little wonder that even stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan and Mithun Chakraborty are venturing into it.


Known to have some of the best thematic and production techniques in Indian film industry, Malayalam cinema caught the fancy of the masses from as early as the beginning of the 20{+t}{+h} century. An upsurge in the 1970s with new-age directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan (‘Swayamvaram' and ‘ Kathapurushan') took it beyond the confines of Kerala to international fora. This genre saw its best era in the decade from 1980 to 1990 with memorable masterpieces like ‘Piravi' and ‘His Highness Abdullah' among others. The industry kept churning out good humorous and social movies in later times too, till it received a setback from the more popular Tamil industry. However, in 2005, it saw a revival when directors like Roshan Andrews and Lal Jose made films like ‘Classmates' (which became the biggest grosser of all times) and ‘Notebook' among others. Presently, experimental movies like ‘Salt n Pepper' and multi-starrers like ‘ Twenty:20' rule the roost.


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