Top 100 – The first steps of Indian Cinema (Part 4)
The eighties witnessed a southern invasion of Bombay with cheap knock offs starring Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna and Mithun. Melody made way for cacophony, dialogues by Kader Khan were loaded with double entendre and actresses served only decorative purposes. After a decade of decadence rose the directorial sons: Sooraj Barjatya, Adi Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Karan Johar as technical spit and polish launched a Diaspora peddling. Films about Indians from India would take another decade to return. As ‘Indie cinema’, ‘multiplex’ and ‘100 crore club’ joined the filmy lexicon, here is the concluding part of the last few firsts recorded:
76. First woman cinematographer: B S Vijayalakshmi shot for ‘Chinna Veedu’ (Tamil, 1985, Dir: Bhagyaraja)
77. Extra Extra: Gandhi (1982, Dir: Sir Richard Attenborough) featured over 3,00,000 extras (World Record) for the funeral scene. 11 camera crews shot 20,000 ft of film on 31 Jan 1980 – more than the total footage of the 188 min release print of the movie. The edited version ran for 125 seconds.
78. End Note: K Asif started production on ‘Love and God’ in 1966. He died in 1971 before its completion. The project was revived by KC Bokadia and released in 1986 – 20 years in the making.
79. 3D: My Dear Kuttichathan (Malayalam, 1984, Dir: Jijo) started the local 3D trend which never really caught on.
80. Men’s club: Mathilukal (Malayalam, 1990, Dir: Adoor Gopalakrishnan) first film to feature only male artists.
81. Crooning: In 1993, Playback singer Kumar Sanu recorded 28 songs in one day at the Musicians Studio, Mumbai.
82. Pack Up: Madam X (1994, Dir: Deepak Shivdasani) *ing Rekha ran for just one day at Bombay’s New Empire, the shortest run for a film ever.
83. Triple Trouble: Actors Raj Babbar, Kader Khan and Govinda played double roles in Aankhen (1993, Dir: David Dhawan), the most double roles in a film
84. Blitzkrieg: Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994, Dir: Sooraj Barjatya) was released at a single screen theatre in every major city of India, the Rajshri distribution machinery hard at work.
85. Dolby debut: ‘1942 – A Love Story’ (1994, Dir: Vidhu Vinod Chopra) the first with Dolby sound magic.
86. Blind Chance: BS Narayana (b Feb 17, 1929) directed 30 Telegu films before going blind in 1991. Undaunted, the completely sightless brave heart directed two more films – a la Woody Allen in ‘Hollywood Ending’
87. Feminine Side: Nirmal Pandey, male actor, won the best actress award at the Valenciennes Film Festival, France 1997 for his portrayal of a transvestite in ‘Daayra’ (Dir: Amol Palekar).
88. Policy Matter: An insurance policy of Rs. 11 crore taken out through United India Insurance on ‘Taal’ (1999, Dir: Subhash Ghai) against possible schedule disturbances or accidents on sets.
89. Jail Break: ‘Mahaul Theek Hai’ (Punjabi, 1999, Dir: Jaspal Bhatti premiered at Tihar Jail, Delhi in February 1999.
90. In Sync: ‘Hey! Ram’ (2000, Dir: Kamal Hassan) first ever film recorded with Sync Sound Technology.
91. Roll Camera: A fight sequence in ‘Nayak’ (2001, Dir: Shankar) had 35 cameras filming the sequence.
92. Digital Debut: Maya – The Reality (2001, Dir: Vishal Bhandari) first digital feature of India.
93. Big Yawn: The longest ever title song clocking 20 minutes: Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon (2004, Dir: Anil Sharma) rendered by Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan and Kailash Kher.
94. Bigger Yawn: ‘LOC Kargil’ (2003, Dir: J P Dutta) ran for a staggering 4 hours 15 minutes.
95. Cell connection: Ctrl Alt Delete (2005, Dir: Saurabh Gupta) becomes the first film to be released worldwide through mobile phones.
96. Stratospheric: A scene in ‘Lakshay’ (2004, Dir: Farhan Akhtar) was shot at an altitude of 17,582 ft using a crane operated by Hollywood cinematographer Christopher Popp.
97. Thank you: VK Murthy, Guru Dutt’s cinematographer, 1st technician to get Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2008. India still awaits it’s 1st bona fide Screenwriter awardee.
98. Wasted: Priyanka Chopra enacted 12 different characters in What’s ‘Your Rashee?’ (2009, Dir: Ashutosh Gowarikar), the most in a talkie film.
99. Speakeasy: ‘Rann’ (2010, Dir: Ram Gopal Verma) featured a 12½ min monologue delivered by Amitabh Bachchan.
100. Print It: ‘Ra.One’ (2011, Dir: Anubhav Sinha) released with approximately 4,500 prints including 1,000 for the international markets, the maximum for any film.