Modern Indian Cinema

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, romance movies and action films starred actors like Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and Shashi Kapoor and actresses like Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz and Asha Parekh. In the mid-1970s, romantic confections made way for gritty, violent films about gangsters (see Indian mafia) and bandits. Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his “angry young man” roles, rode the crest of this trend with actors like Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol, which lasted into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha.

Modern Indian Cinema

Some Hindi filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic Parallel Cinema throughout the 1970s, alongside Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta. However, the ‘art film’ bent of the Film Finance Corporation came under criticism during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema. The 1970s thus saw the rise of commercial cinema in the form of enduring films such as Sholay (1975), which consolidated Amitabh Bachchan’s position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released in 1975.Another important film from 1975 was Deewar, directed by Yash Chopra and written by Salim-Javed. A crime film pitting “a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan”, portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan; it was described as being “absolutely key to Indian cinema” by Danny Boyle. The most internationally acclaimed Hindi film of the 1980s was Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988), which won the Camera d’Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.