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Raja Harishchandra to Taare Zameen Par: The Evolution of Bollywood

From vibrant songs to iconic titles, Bollywood has vastly impacted the South Asian community beyond solely arts and entertainment.

Bollywood got its ‘B’ from Bombay, currently known as Mumbai, in the 70’s. However, the first Bollywood film was Raja Harishchandra in 1913. It was a silent film in black and white, and its success paved the way for the production of many more films to come.

Source: Raja Harishchandra (1913)

Alam Ara (1931) was Bollywood’s first sound film and Kisan Kanya (1937) was the first color film. As the Indian film industry progressed, India was gaining its independence from the British Raj, gaining full independence in 1947. Colonization was a major theme of Bollywood films prior to independence with some films focusing on the lives of the working class.

Sources: Kisan Kanya (1937), Alam Ara (1931)

As film evolved, music and soundtracks followed.. Dilwale Dulhiana Le Jayenge (1995) was the most successful film of the year and its soundtrack garnered enormous popularity. From tracks like “Tujhe Dehka To'' or “Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna”, DDLJ was extremely influential in the 90's.