Indian cinema: 1990-99

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Indian cinema: 1990-99

Title and authorship of the original article(s)

Brief history of Indian cinema By UrooJ,, mid-2000

Bollywood Cinema By h2g2, mid-2000


Contemporary Hindi Cinema in 90s By indianetzone, mid-2000

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The first half of nineties witnessed the release of some better films in Hindi as well as in other regional languages. Drishti and Drohkal (Nihalani), Lekin (Gulzar), Disha (Sai Paranjpe), Prahar (Nana Patekar), Parinda (Vinod Chopra), Diskha (Arun Kaul), Kasba (Kumar Shahani), Rudaali (Kalpana Lajmi), Maya Memsaab (Ketan Mehta), Mujhse Dosti Karoge (Gopi Desai), Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda & Mammo (Benegal), Who Chokri (Subhankar Ghosh)&Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Tapan Sinha), were some of the notable Hindi films from Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Manipur came films like Tahader Katha, Bagh Bahadur, Charachar (Buddhadeb Dasgupta), Uttoran (Sandip Ray), Wheel Chair (Tapan Sinha), Unishe April (Rituparno Ghosh), Adi Mimansa, Lalvanya Preethi (A.K. Bir), Nirbachana (Biplab Roy Chowdhari), Halodhia Choraya Baodhan Khai, Firingoti (Jahau Barua), Haladhar (Sanjeev Hazarika), and Ishanou (Aribam Shayam Sharma). In the South Malayalam Cinema presented some notable films. They include Vasthuhara (Aravindan).

1990 : The first Bombay International Film Festival for Documentaries and Short Films held. Satyajit Ray presented the Legion d’honneur by French President Francois Mitterand in Calcutta. Death of V. Shantaram.

1991 : Deaths of Nutan, Durga Khote.

1992 : Satyajit Ray awarded the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. Death of Ray. Five selected regional TV channels go national.

1993 : Bill to regulate Cable TV introduced in Lok Sabha. Five more Doordarshan channels are launched. Murdoch’s Star TV acquires 49.9 % shares in the Zee TV network. Controversy over the Choli ke Peeche Kya Hai song in Khalnayak.

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), the highest earning Indian film of its era

1994 : Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is declared the biggest hit in the history of Indian cinema. The Sarkailo Khatiya song in Raja Babu causes a scandal leading to the announcement of amendments in the Censor Code. Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen runs into censor problems. Jurassic Park (1992) is dubbed into Hindi and is a big success paving the way for dubbed versions of other Hollywood films.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), the longest running Hindi-Urdu film ever

1995 : Aditya Chopra makes his debut with the mega hit Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Mani Ratnam’s Bombay releases after it is cleared by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thakeray. CNN announces a news channel with Doordarshan.

1996 : First V. Shantaram Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of Documentary Film presented to B.D. Garga. N.T. Rama Rao dies.

1997 : Gulshan Kumar, owner of T-series and pioneer of the audiocassette revolution of the 1990s, is assassinated. Leading music director Nadeem accused of the murder. Accusations abound about the criminalization of the Film Industry.

1998 : The Government declares the Film Industry as a legitimate Industry qualifying it for Institutional Finance. Shekhar Kapur makes a major breakthrough in the West with Elizabeth. Both Dil Se and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai enter the UK top 10. A small independent film Hyderabad Blues is the sleeper hit of the year paving the way for the production of a series of low budget ‘different’ films.

1999 : Elizabeth goes on to win several Oscar nominations including one for Best film. Shekar Kapur however misses the Best Director nomination. Manoj Night Shyamalan of Indian origin breaks through Hollywood in a major way following the success of The Sixth Sense. The first fully insured Indian film Taal enters the US top 20. Santosh Sivam’s Terrorist has a successful run at the box office besides being screened at various film festivals around the world. Amitabh Bachchan declared the superstar of the millennium ahead of such greats as Charlie Chaplin and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Contemporary Hindi Cinema in 90s

Aashiqui (1990)

Aashiqui Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film starred Rahul Roy, Anu Agarwal, Rima Lagoo and Tom Alter. Lilting music and good performances marked this hit film about a singer (Roy) who loves an orphan (Agarwal). She unfortunately has to contend with an unpleasant warden (Alter) but goes on to become a top model. Ruffled egoes are soothed at the close of the film - Roy hits the big-time and realizes that his talent and Agarwal`s love - not her charity - have taken him places.

Baazigar (1993)

BaazigarDirected by Abbas-Mastan, the film starred Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Shilpa Shetty, Siddharth, Dalip Tahil and Raakhee. An industrialist`s family is forced onto the streets by an employee`s (Tahil) machinations and the film focuses on the vengeance wreaked by the former`s son (Khan). The hero has an amnesiac mother (Raakhee) and, in contrast, his own vivid memories to fuel his anger. He kills Tahil`s elder daughter (Shetty) after romancing her, intends the same for the younger daughter (Kajol) but winds up killing two persons who could identify him as Shetty`s lover. Finally, in a rather gruesome climax, he kills Tahil and dies in his mother`s arms. This was the first of the two films in which Khan played negative characters (the second being Darr) - commentworthy because heroes never accept such roles.

Beta (1992)

BetaDirected by Indra Kumar, the film starred Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Aruna Irani, and Anupam Kher. The second of Kumar`s three successful-films-in-a-row. The film revolves round the son`s (Kapoor) regard for his calculating stepmother (Irani), and the daughter-in-law`s (Dixit) efforts to bring Irani on to the right path. The film had popular music and good performances.

Bombay (1995)

Directed by Mani Rathnam, the film starred Manisha Koirala and Arvind Swamy. A Hindu man (Swamy) and a Muslim woman (Koirala) fall in love and elope in the face of their fathers` objections. They settle down to a happy life in Bombay. Their idyllic existence is interrupted by the looming politico-religious situation and the demolition of the Babri mosque. Riots in the city lead to their sons getting lost and finding shelter with a hijra (transvestite). Finally peace is restored by the intervention of individuals from the Hindu and Muslim communities. The film attracted controversy and tremendous critical & commercial acclaim.

Border (1997)

Directed by J.P Dutta , the film starred Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, Pooja Bhatt.

Damini (1993)

Directed by Rakumar Santoshi, the film starred Meenakshi Sheshadri, Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The story of a woman with the courage of her convictions - the film revolves around the central character (Sheshadri) as the straightforward daughter and daughter-in-law, and the crusader against injustice and hypocricy. She witnesses the rape of a maidservant by her brother-in-law and his friends, but refuses to go along with the collective decision to hush up the matter. The maid is later murdered in hospital. A corrupt lawyer (Puri), a corrupt police force, and an inadequate legal system on the one hand, and Sheshadri and a tough lawyer (Deol) on the other - the film folds neatly. The central character was publicized as a role only Sheshadri could do justice to - and she did. Powerful performances, real-life dilemmas, and the triumph of truth and justice ensured the film`s strength.

Darr (1993)

DarrDirected by Yash Chopra, the film starred Sunny Deol, Juhi Chawla, Shah Rukh Khan, Tanvi Azmi and Anupam Kher. A psychotic`s (Khan) obsession with a woman (Chawla) engaged to another man (Deol). The families resolve to identify the shadowy pursuer. The focus on fear - rare in mainstream cinema - was well-depicted. Khan gets under the skin of his character, imbuing it with menace and passion. The photography and the song-and-refrain Jadoo teri nazar served to heighten the mood.

Dil (1990)

DilDirected by Indra Kumar, the film starred Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Saeed Jafferey, and Anupam Kher. A father (Kher) looking for a fabulously rich daughter-in-law, is delighted when his son (Khan) falls in love with a rich man`s (Jafferey) daughter (Dixit). The young lovers run into problems when Kher is discovered to be poor and not the industrialist he had pretended to be. They elope and get married, but Khan gets injured and Dixit is compelled to turn to his father for help. Everybody is reconciled after a few twists to the plot.

Dil Se... (1998)

Dil Sehe plot of the film by Mani Ratnam had a close resemblance to the modus operandi adopted by Tamil rebels to eliminate Rajiv Gandhi. An inspired performance by Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala and some very popular soundtrack including the phenomenally-successful Chaiyya chaiyya number by AR Rahman made it a special treat. Its performance at the b-o left a lot to be desired, though

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995)

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le JayengeDirected by Aditya Chopra, the film starred Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, and Amrish Puri. An Indian-Londoner (Puri) longing for India allows his daughter (Kajol) one last bout of freedom before taking her to India to marry his friend`s son. Kajol and Khan fall in love in Europe, and he follows her to India. After many twists to the tale, they succeed in getting her father`s blessings. The patriarchial system, the tyrannical father, the illusory freedom and happiness of women - are all highlighted in this film that had memorable music. A major box-office hit.

Disha (1990)

Directed by Sai Paranjpye, the film starred Shabana Azmi, Nana Patekar, Raghuvir Yadav and Om Puri. On the plight of displaced villagers who come to Bombay but find themselves caught in the urban treadmill. Patekar needs to earn enough to repay the debts accrued for his marriage and Yadav becomes a mill-worker. They both plan to return home - Yadav because his brother (Puri) has got lucky with a well that proves a good water source; Patekar returns to an adulterous wife. The textile mills of Dadar (in Bombay) are well shot and lend to the documentary feel of the film.

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1993)

Hum Aapke Hain KaunDirected by Sooraj Barjatya, the film starred Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Mohnish Behl, Renuka Shahane, Reema Lagoo, Alok Nath, Anupam Kher and Bindu. The film was replete with ostentatious sets and merry-making - a North Indian wedding without real-life distractions - dowry, unpleasant relatives/in-laws (only an ineffectual sharp-tongued aunt). The music was a hit and the film is believed to be the most successful ever.

Hum (1991)

HumDirected by Mukul S. Anand, the film starred Amitabh Bachhan, Kimi Katkar, Rajnikant, Anupam Kher, Deepa Sahi, Govinda, Danny Denzongpa, Kader Khan and Shilpa Shirodhkar. The film chronicles the turbulence of the Bombay docks, and Tiger`s (Bachhan) subsequent shift to an idyllic life. The picturization is near perfect, and the return of violence into the peace of Tiger`s family is as disturbing to the film characters as it is to the audience. Katkar`s dance atop a bar counter and the number Jumma chumma were a major attraction for the masses. A well-made film, well-enacted, and extremely well-received!

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (1991)

Jo Jeeta Wohi SikanderDirected by Mansoor Khan, the film starred Aamir Khan, Ayesha Julka, Pooja Bedi, Deepak Tijori, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The competitiveness between two rival schools is illustrated through the story of a middle class boy (Khan) and his infatuation with a rich girl (Bedi). meanwhile, another middle-class tomboyish girl (Julka) loves the hero, albeit silently. Set against the cycle race between the two schools, the film ably draws together the elements of young love and lifestyle. Another success by Mansoor Khan.

Khamoshi-The Musical (1996)

KhamoshiSanjay Leela Bhansali made his debut with this sensible film about the lives of a deaf and dumb couple and their interaction with their only child. The film unfortunately didn`t do well as filmgoers were disappointed finding a fiery actor like Nana Patekar in a role where he couldn`t mouth his dialogues. The director has to wait for another two years to pocket maximum awards with Hum Dil Chuke Sanam.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Kuch Kuch Hota HaiAnother young filmmaker Karan Johar took over from his father and came out with a breezy love story with outstanding music.

Lekin (1990)

LekinDirected by Gulzar, the film starred Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Amjad Khan, and Hema Malini. Kapadia plays a ghost who haunts an ancient palace, unable to leave. Khanna is a government curator who decides to help her. The film dwells on Kapadia`s past life and finally, she is freed from an unhappy situation when Khanna assists her in reaching the desert where she had died. - A highly acclaimed film.

Maya Memsaab (1992)

Maya MemsaabDirected by Ketan Mehta, the film starred Deepa Sahi, Farouque Shaikh, Shah Rukh Khan, Raj Babbar, Om Puri, and Paresh Rawal. The film is about the fantasies of a middle class beauty (Sahi) - her search for excitement and glamour, and refusal to accept her humdrum life. Love affairs and irresponsible buying culminate in her house being auctioned off and her creditors demanding payment. She dies as dramatically as she had lived. The inherent extravagance of the character is vividly brought out by Sahi. The hit song Ek hasin nigaha ka held within its beautiful lyrics the transitory magic of love and beauty.

Phool Aur Kaante (1992)

Phool Aur Kaante Directed by Kuku Kohli, the film starred Amrish Puri, Ajay Devgun, Madhu Raghunath, Aruna Irani, and Raza Murad. An orphaned boy (Devgun) is thrust into the world of violence, only to later realize that the gangster (Puri) befriending him is his father. The hero gets married (to Madhu), and later his father kidnaps his child. A second kidnapping of the child, this time by the gangster`s enemies brings father and son together, and they take on the villains. A major hit, it brought acclaim to the actors and the music-directors Nadeem-Shravan (of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak fame).

Raja (1995)

Directed by Indra Kumar, the film starred Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Kapoor, Mukesh Khanna, Dalip Tahil and Paresh Rawal. Due to a change in the fortunes of two brothers (Kapoor and Rawal), the villain (Khanna) reneges on his promise of his sister`s (Dixit) engagement to Kapoor when they grow up. The two meet and fall in love years later, and vanquish the evil-mongers.

Rangeela (1995)

RangeelaDirected by Ram Gopal Varma, the film starred Aamir Khan, Jackie Shroff, and Urmila Matondkar. An out-of-work actress (Matondkar) finds her way into the limelight after being discovered by a star (Shroff). This causes a rift between her and her love (Khan). Shroff reunites them, suppressing his own feelings towards Matondkar. The music composed by A.R. Rehman was as successful as Matondkar`s performance which established her as a star presence. Khan and Shroff reaffirmed the faith the public and the box-office have in them.

Rudaali (1992)

RudaaliDirected by Kalpana Lajmi, the film starred Dimple Kapadia, Raj Babbar, Raakhee, Raghuvir Yadav, and Sushmita Mukherjee. The story of a peasant woman (Kapadia) who is abandoned by her alcoholic husband, loses her son when she rejects his unsuitable wife (Mukherjee), and faces harassment in one form or another. She finds a friend in a rudaali (professional mourner) - Raakhee - whom she later discovers to be her mother. Her later acceptance of her daughter-in-law, her love for a landowner and the ultimate donning of a rudaali`s life form the evolution of this character. Kapadia`s wonderful performance, the lyrics by Gulzar, and the picturization have rendered the film unforgettable.

Satya (1998)

SatyaThe film, a stark, unsparing take on the Mumbai underworld makes the grade for Ram Gopal Verma`s realistic directorial touches. The film received a good response all over, despite the typical Bambaiyya subject.

Saudagar (1991)

SaudagarDirected by Subhash Ghai, the film starred Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Vivek Mushran, Manisha Koirala, Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri, Gulshan Grover, Deepti Naval and Jackie Shroff. Two close friends (Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar) become bitter enemies, maintaing private armies against one another. Their grandchildren (Mushran and Koirala) fall in love, and ultimately bring peace to the clans. The scenic locales, the music, and the performances made the film a hit, and a star of Koirala.

Sir (1993)

Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film starred Naseeruddin Shah, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri, Paresh Rawal and Avtar Gill. A takeoff on the 60s film To Sir With Love, the film is an action-cum-affection story of a college professor (Shah). He takes up cudgels on behalf of his students, cures the heroine (Bhatt) of her stammer, and effectively deals with gang-violence. Superb direction and performances marked this film.

Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda (1992)

Directed by Shyam Benegal, the film starred Amrish Puri, Neena Gupta, K.K. Raina, Pallavi Joshi, and Raghuvir Yadav. A bachelor (Puri) recounts his life in three stages - childhood, adolescence and adulthood - centred on the women of his life. His listeners discuss women, highlighting their complacent and immature views on women. A comedy, but with a sting.

Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaye (1990)

Directed by Amol Palekar, the film starred Anita Kanwar, Nana Patekar and Vikram Gokhale. A spinster (Kanwar) lives in a desolate town with no rain. A stranger (Patekar) claiming to be a rainmaker, arrives - bringing rain to the town and romance (in the person of Gokhale) into Kanwar`s life. The use of song-and-speech numbers was an interesting feature of the film, apart from the realistic performances

Viraasat (1998)

The remake of the Tamil superhit Thevar Magan was directed by Priyadarshan, who made some changes in the original script. The film was well-received. Anil Kapoor won the national award for best actor for his performance in the film.

1942 A Love Story (1993)

1942 A Love StoryDirected by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the film starred Anil Kapoor, Monisha Koirala, Jackie Shroff, and Anupam Kher. The love between Kapoor , the son of an Indian colonialist, and Koirala , daughter of a revolutionary (Kher) in a period of political turmoil counterfoils the plot to kill a foul British general. The formerly apolitical Kapoor joins the rebels and their leader (Shroff). They are successful and Kapoor goes to the gallows with his head held high. The climax entailed the efforts of many directors, all of whom gave unstintingly of their time and expertise.

Indian cinema: historical outline Covers the era before the first Indian feature film

Indian 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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