107 years of Indian cinema, yet many of us are unaware of the first film in sound, colour or even the first film released even. This article covers every development over the years of Indian cinema (yes Indian, including every language from the country) from the years when everything had just started till now!
This article was a mighty task to complete (almost a month and half of completion) from phone calls, to enquiries to hours of reading. I would like to thank the people who put in their effort for this article who went out of their way to make this happen! This one is for you! Thank you Rana Saab, Bhaskar Choudhary, Ali Khan from Zulm for keeping it active for years and Mr Ravi Kumar.
First Hindi film: Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Raja Harishchandra was the first silent feature film made in India. Dadasaheb Phalke, the director of the film was in charge of scriptment, direction, production design, make-up, editing, along with film processing. Fun fact, as no women were available to play female leads, male actors performed the female roles for the movie. Anna Hari Salunke is the first person to perform as a heroine in Indian cinema. He played the role of Rani Chandramat in Raja Harishchandra. He was also the first person to play the roles of both the hero as well as heroine in 1917 in Lanka Dahan.
First women on screen: Durgabai Kamat and her daughter Kamlabai Ghokhle in Mohini Bhasmasur (1913)
Women acting in theatre and cinema were considered a taboo in the early 1900s. Dadasaheb Phalke was forced to cast a male actor as the female lead in Raja Harishchandra because he couldn’t find a woman who would play it. However, after Raja Harishchandra captured the imagination of India, he had no trouble casting the female character in his next film. Two women, Durgabai Kamat and her daughter Kamlabai Ghokhle, paved the way for actresses in Indian cinema. Durgabai portrayed the role of Parvati and Kamlabai appeared as Mohini in Dadasaheb Phalke’s second film called Mohini Bhasmasur.
First double role: Lanka Dahan (1917)
Dadasaheb Phalke cast Anna Salunke, the actor who played Rani Taramati in Raja Harishchandra, in a double role in Lanka Dahan. Anna Salunke played both Ram and Sita in the movie. It is said that when the film was screened in Mumbai, people took their shoes off when Lord Rama’s character appeared on the screen.
First South full length feature film: Keechaka Vadham (Tamil – 1917)
In 1916, R Nataraja Mudaliar, an automobile spare parts merchant interested in the brave new world of cinema, built a silent film studio in Chennai. After being trained by British cinematographer Stewart Smith, Mr Mudaliar made the first full length Tamil feature film Keechaka Vadham in 1917, leading to the birth of the vast Southern film industry.
First film certified in India: Orphans Of the Storm (1921)
Despite not exactly being a film produced in India, this was the film in which the censor decided to give films a certification. The story of two sisters at the backdrop of the French revolution, DW Griffith’s film Orphans of the Storm underwent censor cuts in 1920 under the Indian Censorship Act 1918.
First film to face a Ban: Bhakta Vidur (1921)
Film censorship is commonplace today, but the first time a movie found itself on the wrong side of politics and the law was in 1921. Released during the imposition of the Rowlatt Act that put restrictions on Indian imports, Bhakta Vidur was banned in Chennai and Karachi for it political undertones.
First social satire: Bilet Ferat (1921)
In 1921, Dhirendranath Ganguly, a Bengali artist made his first film Bilet Pherat which was translated in English as England Returned. The film, which mocked the upper strata of pretentious, Anglicised Indians, was the first to use satire as a social commentary.
First woman producer and director: Fatma Begum for Bulbul-e-Parastan (1926)
When in period when the general public were just about to get use to the idea of women on-screen, one woman changed the idea of women taking the role of leading the entire film. In 1926, actress Fatma Begum became the first woman to take an important role behind the camera by establishing her own production company, Fatima films, and directing Bulbul-e-Parastan.
First talkie film: Alam Ara (1931)
The film that gave the medium of cinema a voice was a period fantasy about an ageing king and his two rival queens. Alam Ara (1931) by Ardeshir Irani opened a whole new chapter for Indian cinema, breaking the silence. The film took months to make because of hazardous recording conditions and the secrecy surrounding the project. With the introduction of sound came music and songs. Alam Ara contained seven songs composed by the first music directors of the film industry, Pirojshah Mistry and B Irani. Also, De De Khuda Ke Naam Par Pyare became the first ever song recorded for a film. It was sung by actor Wazir Mohammed Khan who played a fakir in the film. As playback singing had yet to start in Indian cinema, it was recorded live with musical accompaniment of a harmonium and a table on set.
First Indian film to be shot with artificial lights: Apradhi (1931)
One of the most iconic personalities in Indian cinema, P C Barua is also noted for being the first to use artificial lights while filming. He went to Europe in 1931, observed the production techniques in a London studio and bought lighting equipment used in the studio to India. Mr Barua returned to Kolkata and founded his own production studio, Barua Pictures Ltd. The first film from the studio Apradhi, directed by Debaki Bose, was made using artificial lights.
First animation film: Lafanga Langoor (1931)
Animation movies may still have miles to go but the first experiment with the genre was by German photographer Bocho Gutachwager in 1931 who produced the country’s first animation film Lafanga Langoor.
First Film With Background Music: Chandidas (1934)
New Theatre’s Chandidas in Bengali was the first talkie film in which Background music was scored by music director R.C. Boral in 1932. Prabhat Film Company’s Amrit Manthan released at almost the same time also had imaginative background music scored by music director Keshavrao Bhole, the film eventually got a release in 1934.
First English song: Now The Moon Her Light Has Shed from Karma (1933)
Amongst its many breakthrough achievements, the 1933 movie Karma was the first Indian movie to have an English song sung by its actress Devika Rani.
First on-screen kiss: Marthanda Varma (1933)
The second Malayalam feature film Marthanda Varma that released in 1933 raised eyebrows for showing a lip-lock between the lead actors. Later that year Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai also shared a kiss in the Hindi movie Karma.
First international award: Seeta (1934)
Directed by Debaki Bose, Seeta was the first Indian talkie film to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1934. The movie, featuring Durga Khote and Prithviraj Kapoor, won an Honorary Diploma, making Debaki Bose the first Indian director and Seeta the first film to have won an international award.
First movie with a flashback sequence: Roop Lekha (1934)
Flashbacks have always been an important part in the telling of cinematic stories and the first movie to use the technique was P C Barua’s 1934 film Roop Lekha.
First female music composer: Ishrat Sultana for Adl-e-Jehangir (1934)
Ishrat Sultana was the first female music composer who composed the music for the Mughal Historical drama Adl-e-Jehangir (1934) the following year renowned singer and actress Nargis’ mother, Jaddan Bai became the second woman composer with Talashe Haq that released in 1935.
First playback singing in a film: Dhoop Chhaaon (1935)
One of the most important developments in Indian cinema was the introduction of playback singing. Rai Chand Boral was the first to use the systematic technique of playback singing in the film Dhoop Chhaoon (1935). It was Nitin Bose, the director, who came up with the idea of playback singing. He discussed with music director Raichand Boral and Bose’s brother Mukul Bose, who was the sound recordist in New Theatres, implemented the idea.
First film using stunts: Hunterwali (1935)
Hunterwali starring Fearless Nadia was released to mass hysteria and an instant box office success, turning the ‘stunt film’ in a big budget genre. The film also marked the first time stunt men were used and the first time India had gained an ‘action actress’
First Golden Jubilee film: Sant Tukaram (1936)
Marathi film Sant Tukaram (1936) became the first ever film to run in a single theatre for more than a year. The film also won a citation at the Venice Film Festival.
First colour film: Kisan Kanya (1937)
Ardeshir Irani of Imperial Film Company established India’s first colour film laboratory in 1937 and Moti B Gidvani’s Kisan Kanya emerged as India’s first indigenously produced colour film. The film unfolded the poor plight of a farmer and the consequences he faces for being a peasant. The movie was not a commercial success but is still remembered as the first ever movie made in colour. This indeed was a stepping stone for Indian Cinema.
First songless talkie film: Naujawan (1937)
Right after the first talkie film released in 1931, songs became an indispensable part of Hindi films. However, one film that did not catch up with the trend and was released without a single song. J B H Wadia’s Naujawan released in 1937 became India’s first songless talkie.
First film with an anti-hero in the lead: Kismet (1943)
With Ashok Kumar in the lead role, the film came with some bold themes for the first time in Indian cinema showing an anti-hero character, double role and an unmarried girl getting pregnant. The movie was the first blockbuster movie of Indian cinema. This image of the anti-hero lead on for years with memorable roles such as Shahrukh Khan in Baazigar (1993) and Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak (1993)
First Indian Sequel: Hunterwali Ki Beti (1943)
Hunterwali was a runaway success and a bonanza in terms of money earned, as it ran for 25 weeks making record earnings for the year. Hunterwali Ki Beti, made 8 years later after the prequel and was made with the same producers and almost the same team as its prequel and went on to become a blockbuster.
First film to win the Palme d`Or at Cannes Film Festival: Neecha Nagar (1946)
Directed by Chetan Anand and produced by India Pictures, Neecha Nagar was the first Indian film to win the Palme d`Or at 1946 Cannes Film Festival. The film portrayed a contrasting picture of the rich and the poor society.
First film with an Adult certification: Hanste Aansoo (1950)
Hanste Aansoo (1950) featuring Madhubala and Motilal became the first film to receive ‘only for adults’ certification following the amendment of the original Indian Cinematograph Act (1918) in December 1949 by which time ‘A’ and ‘U’ had been introduced.
First dream sequence song: Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi from Awara (1951)
Who can forget that long dream sequence in the song Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi from Raj Kapoor’s classic film Awaara (1951)? A sea of twirling cloud symbolised the conflicts in Raj Kapoor’s mind.
First technicolour film: Jhansi ki Rani (1953)
Director and producer Sohrab Modi flew in technicians from Hollywood to execute the first technicolour film Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) featuring Mehtab. Despite its stirring performance and appealing shots, the movie failed to make a mark on the box office.
First film to be shot abroad – Naaz (1954)
Naaz (1954), a costume film starring Ashok Kumar, Nalini Jaywant and Veena was the first Hindi film to be shot in foreign locations, the film was shot in Cairo and London. In the same year Meena’s Chandni Chowk was released where the protagonist travels to Egypt to earn money.
First Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar: Mother India (1957)
One of the most expensive films of the time, Mother India (1957) finally took Indian cinema to the Oscars. The story of a rural woman who sacrificed all her life to raise her children and finally kills her criminal son was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category and became a definitive classic. Mother India lost to the Italian film Le notti di Cabiria.
First Indian cinemascope film: Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) is a classic in more than one ways. Apart from its realistic take on the vagaries of the Indian film industry and Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman’s impeccable acting, the movie was also the first cinemascopic film made in India. The movie had some of the most breath-taking images ever seen in Indian cinema.
First film to be shot simultaneously in multi languages: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
When now shooting a film simultaneously in different languages has become a norm of the industry, this was first conceived by K.Asif who had took years to make his magnum opus, one of the reasons for the long schedule to complete the film was because the film was shot three times. While it is known that the film released in Hindi, with prominent Urdu dialogues, it was also shot in Tamil and English. As the actors didn’t know how to speak in Tamil fluently, they lip-synced to Tamil dialogues instead. The Hindi version of Mughal-e-Azam was a blockbuster. However, the Tamil version flopped badly. Since the Tamil version didn’t work, the makers decided not to release the film in English. Even the idea of dubbing the English version with British actors was aborted. And unfortunately, no print of the English version is now in existence.
First actor to play 9 roles in a film: Sivaji Ganesan for Navarathri (1964)
The film is well known for starring Sivaji Ganesan in nine distinct roles: the basic emotions – wonder, fear, compassion, anger, peace, love, courage, repulsion and happiness. Navarathri traces Nalina’s (the female protagonist) experience of these nine emotions on nine consecutive nights. The film was later remade in Hindi with Sanjeev Kumar with Naye Din Naye Raat (1974)
First film to be shot with a single actor: Sunil Dutt with Yaadein (1964)
Yaadein was directed and produced by Sunil Dutt also starring himself. The only other actor in the film is Nargis Dutt, that too in a silhouette in the final scene. This film is first-ever Indian and one of kind films in world cinema as it features only a single actor and hence has found an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records in the category ‘Fewest actors in a narrative film’.
First 70-mm / Stereo Sound Film: Sholay (1975)
Despite, Pachhi’s Around The World (1967) was the first film released in 70mm, Pachhi used technology to blow-up the negatives from the original 35mm. Sholay however, was the first film to be completely shot in the 70mm format. The tagline of the movie, ‘First film in 70mm,’ probably helped make Sholay the blockbuster it was. With Stereo Sound, despite many films prior had used the sound just for the soundtrack while the actual film was in mono, Sholay was the first entire film to be in Stereo sound.
First Hollywood and Bollywood collaboration: Shalimar (1978)
Shalimar marked the first time two of the giant industries of the world had collaborated for a project, with half of the cast and half the crew were from both industries. Krishna Shah, who had already been apart of some Hollywood projects had convinced a Hollywood studio about making Shalimar which itself was an adaption of the novel, The Vulture is a Patient Bird by James Hadley Chase which was Indianised and made in two version – one in Hindi and one in English.
First film to gross 100 Crore Worldwide: Disco Dancer (1982)
The so called ‘100 crore club’ did not actually begin to many years later with Aamir Khan’s Ghajini (2008) in which started a trend for a big film to cross the 100 crore mark, but the first film to hit that target is B.Subhash’s Disco Dancer which shockingly had done such great number, where the film only had grossed around 10 crores domestically but shockingly did a whocking 90 Crore plus in the Soviet Union, establishing Mithun Chakraborthy as India’s Soviet star.
First 3D movie: My Dear Kuttichthan (1984)
India was introduced to three dimensional motion pictures with the Malayalam film My Dear Kuttichthan in 1984, which was later dubbed into Hindi in 1998 as Chotta Chetan. The phenomenon rapidly caught the Hindi film industry too with the first 3D Hindi film Shiva Ka Insaaf releasing in 1985.
First screenplay writing software used: Thevar Magan (1992)
Earlier screenplays were never used, the format of the screenplay had came a lot later on and that too was manually wrote by writers, who wrote day and night trying to correct the format. Kamal Hassan introduced India to Scriptor, from Screenplay Systems to only simplify but maintain the order of syntax for the traditional screenplay.
First Dolby sound film: 1942 – A Love Story (1994)
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 1942- A Love Story (1994) was music maestro R D Burman’s swan song. The movie was also a stepping stone to advanced sound engineering with the introduction of Dolby sound.
First film ever to be dubbed in Hindi: Jurassic Park (1994)
The first movie to be dubbed in Hindi was Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg is the director of this movie who take this decision to release the movie in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu language. The movie was opened in the India on 15 April 1994. This trend of dubbing began a wave in the Hindi belt, with films like Roja, Dalpati and Humse Hai Muqabala all went on being dubbed into Hindi and did fantastic business in Hindi.
First film subtitled in English theatrically: Bandit Queen (1994)
Shekhar Kapur’s ambitious venture was one of the few films at the time to be selected for film festivals around the world, at the time while submitting Shekhar Kapur felt the need to subtitle the film in which he approached Armenian Subtitling Services for the festival print of the film. Being so happy with the results, Shekhar Kapur and producer Bobby Bedi decided to subtitle all the prints for the film for the international market, making it the first Hindi film subtitled in English.
First film in 4 track-stereo sound: Hum Aapke Hain Koun? (1994)
The stereo 4 track sound has been around since the late 50s but only in audio form, HAHK is the first Indian film to be entirely mixed in the film. The 4-track sound was an extension of the original stereo sound which had 2 outputs, here the 4 track would ensure the surrounding of the sound through the output being from 4 waves.
First film mixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital – Ram Shastra (1995)
For years, people being confused between the difference between Dolby sound and Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby 5.1 is the common name for a six-channel surround sound audio systems. 5.1 is the most commonly used now in home theatres but was first brought to India by Firoz Nadiadwala for his high budget film Ram Shastra, a development that went on and changed sound for years for Indian cinema.
First film in DTS sound – Karuppu Roja (1996)
DTS stands for Digital Theater Systems, a popular cinema audio format that was developed in 1993 as a competitor to Dolby Labs in the development of surround sound audio technology for movie production. Karuppa Roja, being the first film in DTS for years until cinemas had gone to digital, most Tamil cinemas were using DTS sound over Dolby Digital. The first Hindi film being Judwaa (1997) the following year, only a small number of Hindi films used the DTS format and faded away quickly as most cinemas did not convert their sound to DTS, most Hindi production houses stopped using the format.
First and only actor to win Best Actress award: Nirmal Pandey for Daayra (1996)
Amol Palekar’s peculiar film about a woman’s journey who transforms herself into a man after being kidnapped which Nirmal Pandey’s powerful portrayal of a transvestite in Amol Palekar’s Daayra (1996) fetched him a Best Actress award, which he shared with female lead Sonali Kulkarni, Kulkarni, at the Valenciennes Film Festival in France in 1997.
First film based on Homosexuality: Fire (1996)
Unspoken about in an Indian society, the first film that touched on the subject was Mira Nair’s controversial film on two housewives played by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das went on to cause a lot of actual fire in the tabloids at the time in which it was banned and recut several times and eventually released in India in 1998 with full houses and running in cinemas for a continuous three weeks until it was removed from cinemas from the protests with the fear of the cinema owners.
First film released on DVD: Koyla (1997)
In 1997, the newest home viewing experience came to the homes of people, through a Digital Versatile Disc aka DVD, VHS and laser discs had their issues which people endlessly had complained about, the DVD was to get rid of them problems. In March 1997, Twister was the first Hollywood film to be released on DVD and India, the technology was still in progress. Koyla after being released in April 1997 in cinemas, a couple of months later Super Digital (based in the USA) had released the first Indian DVD, Koyla being that first which started a new wave of Indian films being released on DVD.
First film to use CGI for a double-role: Judwaa (1997)
For many who are unaware, but during the earlier years of cinema right till the 90s, most double-roles were done using camera tricks or even a very old system of joining the frames together with old ‘guillotine-like’ editing mechanism. Seeing CGI was becoming a new thing for producers in the 90s, Sajid Nadiadwala felt that the film seeing it was largely based with many scenes of the two Salman’s appearing together to go for the CGI rather than the old school method. The technique worked results bringing back the ‘double-role’ genre to the market.
First and only film to be inaugurated by The Royal Queen Elizabeth II : Marudhanayagam (1997)
The Queen of England is said to have expressed interest in going to an Indian film set with one of the top actors and Marudhanayagam was the chosen film. The British monarch was invited to be Chief Guest for the launch of the film. She was invited to MGR Film City on October 16, 1997 where she spent 20 minutes. Elaborate preparations and security arrangements were made before the Queen’s visit. As soon as the Queen arrived on the set, Kamal Haasan’s then wife Sarita had performed the typical Indian welcome ritual with an aarti, a tilak and a garland. Unfortunately, the film never saw the light of the day due to the lack of funds
First film to be Rentrak Nielsen EDI tracked: Dil Se (1998)
Rentrak Corporation is a global media measurement and research company serving the entertainment industry that collect actual figures of box office collections for films played in cinemas without any foul play. The company formed and operated since 1988, began to operate and began to track Indian films after Eros Entertainment had a wide release with their film Dil Se in order to keep track of official figures.
First film to be digitally remastered for Home Viewing: Maine Pyar Kiya (1988 – Remastered in 1998)
Just during the late 90s when DVDs were becoming the new talk of the town, Eros and DEI (Digital Entertainment Inc) had formed an alliance in which DEI were authoring the DVDs backed by Eros. DEI had the technology and the vision of getting the best outcome of every film authored, until they felt that they could remaster or even experiement with the older films they were beginning to author. Maine Pyar Kiya, not only was cleaned, restored from the original negatives but the sound was remastered from the original 2.0 stereo to a new sounding 5.1 Digital track.
First film insured: Taal (1999)
Subhash Ghai is credited with starting the trend of insuring movies in India and Taal became the first ever Bollywood film to be insured for a whopping sum of ₹110 million! Almost 85 years after the release of first Hindi movie, the Indian film industry addressed the demand for risk cover against any mishap prior to the release of the film and insuring movies quickly became a trend.
First song to be entirely shot in CGI: Teri Yaad from Kartoos (1999)
Regarding Kartoos and its production – the film went through many issues. From Sanjay Dutt’s issues with the court for leaving the country, Mahesh Bhatt not giving a lot of attention to the film and Nushrat Fateh Ali Khan not completing the album for his death. Firoz Nadiadwala needed a trump card for the film and his homage to one of the last songs Nushrat Fateh Ali Khan had composed, Teri Yaad, he wanted it to be done on a grand scale. He brought in Music Video director Ken Ghosh, recreated the Taj Mahal via CGI and shot the song entirely in a studio in film city with a green screen which was a first for that time.
First film in sync sound – Hey Ram (2000)
Originally, Kamal Hassan had begun filming his directorial feature Marudhanayagam in sync sound way back in 1997, but after the first schedule, the film had stalled. Using the same equipment, Kamal Hassan had used it for his feature Hey Ram as he was filming the film simultaneously in Tamil and Hindi, he felt the sync sound would save time on the dubbing later, as India was new to Sync Sound Technology, the film did go through a small stage of dubbing but regardless the results still turned out well for the feature.
First film to be entirely shot abroad: Kaante (2002)
Most Indian films from the 60s onwards would have a segment or a song shot abroad, shooting in Europe had become a norm in the 80s and 90s at one point. Up until Kaante, no film had been entirely shot in a country outside of India. Sanjay Gupta had visualised the entire script of Kaante in Los Angeles which made it the first Indian film entirely from start to finish shot in a foreign country.
First film available to download online: Supari (2003)
The film not getting the release as the producers had hoped for that the time, prior to the release the producers had decided that the film would be legally available for people to download at a fee of Rs.220, the film did not fare well in cinemas but the producers were happy with the download sales.
First film to be digitally colorized from black-and-white: Mughal-E-Azam (1960 – 2004 re-release)
In 2002, The Sterling Investment Corporation, the negative rights owner and an arm of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, undertook restoration and colourisation of Mughal-e-Azam, The negative was cleaned of fungal growth, damaged portions were restored, and missing parts of frames were re-instated. After cleaning, each of the 300,000 frames of the negative was scanned into a 10 megabytes-sized file and then was digitally restored. Mughal-e-Azam became the first full-length feature film colourised for a theatrical re-release in the world and became an instant hit at the box office of Diwali 2004.
First film to be shot digitally: Mumbai Xpress (2005)
Kamal Hassan again, being the technology savy-person he us brought digital film making to India in 2004, his film Mumbai Xpress first digital film implemented (shot in the pioneering Red epic camera) a no-profit no-loss affair thus opening up a new path for potential filmmakers and India’s forey into the digital film making they used 3ccd cameras.
First film to be screened at the United Nations – Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
Lage Raho Munna Bhai directed by Rajkumar Hirani was the first Indian film to be screened at the United Nations on November 10, 2006. The film had a goon protagonist learning the lessons of non-violence from none other than Mahatma Gandhi.
First film to be released on Blu-Ray: Heyy Babyy (2007)
The Blu-ray, a digital optical disc data storage format designed to supersede the DVD format, capable of storing several hours of video in high-definition (HDTV 720p and 1080p). In America, just as soon as the Blu-Ray became commercial after many prototypes had been tested, in 2008, Eros had announced of going to Blu-ray, the director who had already planned a Blu-Ray release for his during his production stage was film buff turned director Sajid Khan. Heyy Babyy released on Blu-Ray early 2008 followed by Om Shanti Om (2007) which was released a couple of months later.
First film to incorporate the 4K resolution technology: Sivaji: The Boss (2007)
When it comes to technology, the South film industry has often led the way. Rajinikanth’s blockbuster film Sivaji: The Boss (2007) was the first Indian movie to incorporate the latest 4K resolution technology that is used only in big-budget Hollywood films. In India, 2K resolution has been the set standard.
First film to be released on the theatrical digital format: Guru (2007)
Since the dawn of cinema, films have been viewed and released on celluloid in cinemas, the 35mm format slowly was replaced by the DCP digital cinema format. Guru, became the first Indian Film mastered in the DCI-compliant JPEG 2000 Interop format and also the first Indian film to be previewed digitally, internationally, at the Elgin Winter Garden in Toronto. This film was digitally mastered at Real Image Media Technologies in India
First Indian online streaming platform – BigFlix (2008)
BIGFlix is a Reliance Entertainment owned movie on demand service in 2008. It is India’s first movie on demand service. It allows users to stream or download movies at any time. It generates its revenues from subscription fees and does not rely on advertisements. After arrival of Netflix and Amazon prime in 2016, BigFlix did find a struggle to hold onto.
First Two Part film: Rakhta Charitra (2010)
The formula of a two film cannot be confused to be being a sequel/prequel, the formula of a two part film is one film in which its narrative has been broken down into two films – In this case Rakhta Charitra is a 5 hour film but broken down into two films because of the length. Ram Gopal Varma had even released both films in the same both month not wanting the audience to lose interest in the earlier part.
First film to be crowd funded: I AM (2011)
Usually the process of getting a film financed is simply through a producer or a financier, Onir and Sanjay Suri’s I AM was a first of its kind in which they had launched an online campaign in order for people to draw their finance to their film but also making them stakeholders in the film and becoming profit sharers, all the people who were from the general public financed the film via social media platforms making it India’s first crowd funded film.
First film mixed in 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround: Dum Maaro Dum (2011)
Dolby Surround 7.1 was the latest upgraded sound system by Dolby Laboratories which delivers theatrical 7.1 surround sound to movie-goers. It adds two new channels to current Dolby Digital 5.1. The first film to feature Dolby Surround 7.1 was 2010’s Toy Story 3, in India the Sippy’s who had earlier brought Stereo to India had brought the sound of 7.1 Dolby with their feature.
First film in Dolby Atmos: Dhoom 3 (2013)
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. It expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects. The first film to be mixed in Dolby Atmos was Disney’s Brave in 2012, on hearing this development of technology, Aditya Chopra had made his efforts that his 2013 Christmas production would also be mixed in the same sound, which made it the first film from in India in Dolby Atmos.
First recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award – Devika Rani in 1969.
First winner of National Award for Best Actor – Uttam Kumar for Anthony Firinghee and Chiriyakhana
First winner of National Award for Best Actress – Nargis for Raat Aur Din
First winner of National Award for Best Supporting Actor – Victor Banerjee for Ghare Baire
First winner for National Award for Best Supporting Actress – Rohini Hattangadi for Party
First Filmafe Best Actor – Dilip Kumar for Daag
First Filmfare Best Actress – Meena Kumari for Baiju Bawra
First Filmfare Best Film – Do Bigha Zameen
First Indian Oscar winner – Bhanu Athaiya, Best Costumes for Gandhi (1982)
4 thoughts on “First for everything: Every ‘first’ in Indian cinema you had no idea about!”
A great effort on this post which I very much enjoyed. Re: “Sholay”, was this also the first Bollywood Spaghetti Western?
Hello!!! I’m from Italy. I like movies and indian music too 🤗🤗🤗
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