By – Vish Viswanathan
It is not often the Sydney hosts very memorable events such as the ‘100 Years of Bollywood” held on 2nd April at the Science Theatre, University of New South wales. Presented for the first time in Australia by the very talented artists from the Niche Entertainment, Pune and hosted by the Marathi Association of Sydney Inc. (MASI) left a huge impact with the music lovers in Sydney and a craving for the repeat of this show whenever it happens again.
Slightly over one hundred years ago in 1913 the first silent feature film Raja Harischandra by Dadasaheb Phalke was released in India. The film was about the legend King Harischandra. This first silent movie earned Dadasaheb Phalke the title the Father of Indian Cinema. This was the beginning of the ever-growing line of Bollywood films. Ardeshir Irani produced his first talkie ‘Alam Ara’ in 1931 which spiralled production of more movies in Bollywood. Today the Bollywood turned out to be a huge entertainment industry earning over $3 billion. India had a total box office of US$1.6 billion, the fourth largest in the world outside North America. The beauty of Bollywood industry is that each filmmaker has defined or contributed to the Indian popular movie culture for a hundred years. Apart from the Bollywood stars from Prithviraj Kapoor to Ranbir, the industry gave rise to to now globally acclaimed talents from Lata Mangeshkar to Shreya Ghoshal, from Saigal to Sonu Nigam.
“100 Years of Bollywood” was a musical journey of ever popular songs over the years beautifully presented by the visiting singers Swanandi Tikkekar, Amit Vaze, Swarda Godbole, Deepika Jog, Chitanya Kulkarni and Jitendra Abhyankar. The uniqueness of the presentation received repeated applause from the audiences as artistes dressed like the actors for their respective songs and the video clips of the songs dating back from 1930s to 2015 were shown as the background reliving the popular movies. This was truly a musical journey over the years and brought nostalgic memories for young and old.
The other interesting highlight was the excellent compere by Rahul Sholapurkar with a rich voice and sharing the gossips or mini stories behind the songs in the screen such as
–A popular misconception is that Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik got married during Nau do Gyarah….however they had eloped to get married during the shooting of Taxi Driver 3 years earlier.
– Kalpana acted in only 5 films…all with Dev as her co-star!
– All India Radio’s policy of promoting classical music over film music made the Hindi film industry get closer to Radio Ceylon which eventually produced iconic programmes especially “Binaca Geetmala” whose host Ameen Sayani would become an icon in his own right and every film music director would vie to have his song featured on the programme.
– Naushad was the first music director to record with a 100 piece orchestra
– OP was chiefly instrumental in creating Shammi Kapoor – the Yahoo star! Such was his success with foot tapping tunes that producers started requesting senior composers of the day to include at least one “OP Effect” song in their films!
– It is said that Lata Mangeshkar was not very pleased with either Raj Kapoor or SJ for filming the song as a semi cabaret number. She had strained relations with both for a long time.
– The movie “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” remains the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema. In February 2009, the film set a record by completing 700 weeks of continuous play in Mumbai theatres. On 20 October 2009 the movie completed 15 years of non-stop running.
The men behind “100 Years of Bollywood” Dr. Ninand Tackarey (script), Milind Oak (Direction), Uday Kulkarni the Australian organiser, Executive Committee of Marathi Association of Sydney (MASI) and the volunteers deserve accolades for such a memorable evening with their tireless efforts.