Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1920-29

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Middle Eastern fantasies

Both Princess Budur (J.J. Madan, 1922) and Gul-e-Bakavali (K. Rathod, 1924) were mediæval fantasies set in the Middle East. Both were hits.

In those days Urdu was the medium of instruction or a major language in most Indian states from the NWFP (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) in the West to East Begal (now Bangladesh) in the East, from Jammu and Kashmir in the North to Karnataka in the south. Muslims accounted for around 22 per cent of the population. Arabian Nights fantasies were popular in most languages, including Assamese and Tamil. They were the staple of Parsee theatre. Therefore, it was natural that the popular feature films of the era reflected this trend.

When Thief of Bagdad (Raoul Walsh, 1924, USA) was released in India, it achieved unprecedented commercial success. This was natural, given how popular Arabian Nights fantasies were in India. However, it is ridiculous to suggest, as film historians from the USA and Europe do, that the success of Thief of Bagdad is responsible for the spate of Middle Eastern- fantasies that followed in India.

See also

Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1930-39 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1940-49 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1950-59 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1960-69 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1970-79 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1980-89 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 1990-99 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 2000-09 Hindi-Urdu cinema: 2010-19

Indian cinema: historical outline Covers the era before the first Indian feature filmIndian cinema: 1913-20 Indian cinema: 1920-29 Indian cinema: 1930-39 Indian cinema: 1940-49 Indian cinema: 1950-59 Indian cinema: 1960-69 Indian cinema: 1970-79 Indian cinema: 1980-89 Indian cinema: 1990-99 Indian cinema: 2000-09 Indian cinema: 2010-19

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