100 years of indian cinema


Cutting the Chai celebrates a century of Indian cinema. While the celebrations might have ended at most places on May 3, 2013, it has only started here.

Watch: Interval at a cinema hall in the 1970s screening a Hindi film

Interval in a cinema hall screening a Bollywood film in the 1970s

Now that multiplexes (and piracy) have altered our movie watching experience for good, ever wondered what it was like inside a theatre back in the heydays of the single-screen theatres? To know/relive that experience Krishna Shah’s 1979 quasi-documentary Cinema, Cinema is a recommended watch. Shah (who also directed the 1978 film Shalimar) tells the story [Read more]

Filmfare magazine cover dated April 2, 1954 featuring the first Filmfare Award winners

Filmfare magazine cover dated April 2, 1954 featuring the first Filmfare Award winners

60 years ago on Sunday, March 31, 1954 the first Filmfare Awards ceremony (for films released in 1952-53) was held at Bombay’s Metro Cinema and the subsequent issue of the fortnightly film magazine (dated April 2, 1954) had on its cover three of the winners from the night posing with their trophies. On the cover [Read more]

Happy birthday, Fearless Nadia – the original Hunterwali

January 8, is Mary Evans’ (later Mary Evans Wadia) 106th birth anniversary. She, who we better know as Fearless Nadia, was Indian cinema’s original stunt queen. From a chorus girl in Lal-e-Aman (1933) to Khiladi (1968) she kicked and punched her way through to Hindi cinema history like no other actress before or after her. [Read more]

At Rs 100/issue buy e-versions of Filmfare magazine from 60 years ago

At Rs 100/issue buy e-versions of Filmfare magazine from 60 years ago

Update: Filmfare seems to have removed its magazines from sale on Magzter. As regular readers of this blog (if there are any) would know, I have a thing for vintage magazines and I just discovered that vintage Filmfare issues from 1954 onwards are now available for purchase in a digital format online. At Rs 100 [Read more]

100 Years of Indian Cinema: India Post’s 50 commemorative stamps

100 years of Indian cinema - India Post's 50 commemorative stamps

[This post is part of the 100 Years of Indian Cinema celebrations on Cutting the Chai] In May this year when Indian cinema turned 100, the Department of Posts announced the release of Rs 5 commemorative stamps on 50 icons of Indian cinema. The stamps went sale from June. Though the list of the 50 [Read more]

Illustrated Weekly cover: Varadarajan ‘Nayagan’ Mudaliar, the ‘most feared man in Bombay’

Varadarajan Mudaliar, the man who inspired Nayagan and Dayavan, on the cover of Illustrated Weekly of India

The Bombay underworld, is full of stories fit to be made into movies and they have been – lots of them. One of these films unfailingly finds a place in the list of the best movies ever made in India – Maniratnam’s 1987 film Nayagan based on the life of Varda Bhai (Varadarajan Mudaliar) who [Read more]

Inside the original Bombay Talkies (photograph from 1942)

Inside the original Bombay Talkies (photograph from 1942)

The 2013 movie Bombay Talkies couldn’t live up to the standards set by the original Bombay Talkies, the film studio founded by Himanshu Rai in 1934, at the then remote Bombay suburb of Malad. In two decades of its functional existence, Bombay Talkies produced tens of landmark films, the biggest of them was, of course, [Read more]

100 years of Indian cinema: The big Bollywood poster collage

100 years of Indian cinema: The big Bollywood poster collage

Phata poster, nikle saikro hero (heroine aur villain bhi) If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed the grey background image on my profile page and the Technicolor version is the cover image of Cutting the Chai’s Facebook page. This collage is made up of 782 Bollywood posters, most of them hand-painted (the [Read more]

Bombay Talkies: Only Anurag Kashyap’s Murabba gets the taste right

Bombay Talkies: Only Anurag Kashyap's Murabba gets the taste right

Wasn’t Bombay Talkies supposed to be a celebration of the 100 years of Indian cinema? Then what was Karan Johar’s Ajeeb Dastaan Hain Yeh doing in there? A mere insertion of a hit number from the yesteryears and a character with a roomful of vintage film music, doesn’t make it a tribute to cinema. Irrespective [Read more]

Meet the original Revolver Rani from 1971 – Vijayalalitha

Meet the original Revolver Rani from 1971 - Vijayalalitha

Kangana Ranaut is playing the title role of Revolver Rani in Sai Kabir’s forthcoming film co-produced by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Rahul Mittra. The film also stars Vir Das. But the original Revolver Rani is from over four decades ago. Vijayalalitha with both guns blazing was quite a ‘female James Bond’ in a number of Telugu [Read more]

100 years of Indian cinema: ‘Raja Harishchandra’ unofficial Google doodle

100 years of Indian cinema: Unofficial 'Raja Harishchandra' Google doodle

Google doodled Alam Ara, Google doodled Ray and because Google didn’t doodle the 100th anniversary of the release of the first Indian movie – Raja Harishchandra, Cutting the Chai has. This 100 years of Indian cinema unofficial Google doodle is a mosaic image made up of over 1500 individual frames from DG Phalke’s 1913 movie, [Read more]

Cinema century: May 3, 1913 – Raja Harishchandra and the beginnings of a national obsession

Cinema century: 3 May, 1913 - Raja Harishchandra and the beginnings of a national obsession

(This is an edited version of a post first published on April 21, 2012, that was also cross-posted on my other blog at IBNLive.com) In India, cinema isn’t just a passion. It is an obsession. We have perhaps inherited this acute addiction from the man who started it all, 100 years ago – the Father [Read more]