Right from the 1960s to the 2000s, every decade has a characteristic that makes it stand out from the rest. As Hindi cinema turns a century old, here’s an interesting analysis of the traits of all the eras gone by.
Also called the Golden Age of Hindi cinema, the sixties could be credited for giving us melodious songs that are played on radio and iPod even today, the tehzeeb lined dialogues, dapper heroes and villains who locked horns over a girl clad in tight churidaars and a bouffant adorning her head. The on-screen love birds sang and danced around the trees, played piano when heartbroken, drove around the city in vintage cars. The sixties showed class disparity via the posh living rooms of the rich and a humble one-room house with faded walls and plain steel utensils lining the kitchen counter. Not to forget, a widow mother, an ailing father and a couple of siblings marked what can be portrayed as a garib protagonist of the film. It is the first decade when film makers crossed borders to shoot in foreign locales like Paris (‘Sangam’, ‘An Evening in Paris’) and Tokyo (‘Love in Tokyo’) to name a few.
It was an era that saw the rise of the ‘Angry Young Man’ whose main business was to seek revenge from the wrong doer who could be a drug mafia or a smuggler. He was the one who sought justice for the vulnerable and the downtrodden. The films of the seventies had undercurrents of political discontent, featured bold actresses ready to take on the world (Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi), some serious saas-bahu drama. And yes, films like ‘Geet’ and ‘Mera Naam Joker’ took romance to a new level.
Billed as the worst decade that Hindi cinema has seen till date, the eighties defined its movies by their sheer lack of logic, absurd storylines, larger-than-life villains and masala-laced scripts. However, there emerged some diamonds like ‘Masoom’, ‘Arth’, ‘Chashme Baddoor’, ‘Silsila’ and ‘Mr. India’. On the romance front, there were some ‘killer’ tragic love stories like ‘Sadma’, ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’, ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, ‘Soni Mahiwal’ and ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’ that took the nation by storm with their simplicity. Some that were declared successful are ‘Chandni’ and ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’.
The nineties brought about a happy change in the realm of Hindi cinema via the mixed bag of movies that were lapped up by the entertainment hungry audiences with glee. Romance reached a new height with out-and-out romantic films like ‘Dil’, ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’, ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, ‘Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke’, ‘Lamhe’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and ‘Raja Hindustani’. On the other hand, lavish and grand sets were introduced with cinematographers working big time to bring out the effect of luxury on-screen in films like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’. ‘Rangeela’ and ‘Satya’ were the nineties version of the tapori and gangster flicks respectively.
Possibly the most ground-breaking decade till date, the films made in this era explored themes that were extraordinary primarily because the new age film makers took on their shoulders the task of going beyond the obvious. The comic timing was right in ‘Hera Pheri’ and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, ‘Jism’ represented different shades of the erotica, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Omkara’ were Indian version of the famous Shakespearean tragedies. ‘Taare Zameen Par’ dealt with Dyslexia in a unique manner, ‘Chak De India’ and ‘Lagaan’ were possibly the best sports films ever made, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ introduced the concept of bromance and ‘Dhoom’ was India’s answer to Hollywood’s power-packed action films. Subjects that were earlier restricted to the domain of parallel cinema, are now being successfully explored in the commercial movie market. So here we have films like ‘Page 3’ and ‘Chandni Bar’ getting thumbs up from the critics and good money as well.