HISTORY, EVOLUTION OF FILM/TV MAKING and ACTING !!
Since the ages and the eras of human race there, has been a presence of entertainment medium by which the humans used to SOCIALISE !In earlier times, there was presence of various tribes ,cultures ,countries ,regions and colors of Human Race sometimes fighting and sometimes amicably coming together in unity..Socializing was always in our blood!! It was done in many forms such as fights, music, singing and dancing!! This was one of the most common methods of communicating ones feelings as well..As the humans progressed and got more and more civilized , understood the meaning of culture, religion, sects, countries, boundaries and wars, we became more and more desiring .Singing ,music and sports still were the most common ways of entertainment.
When we talk of entertainment, we cannot forget to mention the inventor of theatre!!It all began centuries before Christ!!The great philosopher ARISTOTLE who gave us the performing arts as early as the 400-500 years BC!! Arts was one of the major and most important feature of the GREEK EMPIRE!! Aristotle’s poetries and plays were enacted on stages for the great kings in greek empire and other dynasties time and again.. Athenian’s plays are also very famous and scripted as early asor before the time of the greek empire(century early)..OEDIPUS THE KING is the famous drama from the Athenian philosopher SOPHOCLES!!As the theatrical drama spreaded from the ATHENIAN’s to the Greek empire where Aristotle made up his own dramatic theory called as the ARISTOTLES POETICS!! Nobody would have predicted that it would survive and thrive for thousand’s of years and would one day employ millions of workers and make bussiness into trillions of dollars every year around the globe..Out of thousands only 32 tragedy formats have survived as of today!! At this time the entertainment had just taken a big leap!!
The Roman empire was very famous for its aggressive nature of wars and prostitution.. The roman kings were very exploiting and liberal in their approach for entertainment..Having hundreds of women in their harems were very common,nude dancing and mass open sex was the gift of the Roman Empire..The entertainment’s dark chapter had just begun!! The Roman kings used to held games to divert the attention of the roman people so that they woudn’t revolt against any loss of war or any social issue or the atrocities of the empire..This was a very great political action of those times..To feed the people in free and let them see the gladiators fight each other for months!! The worse thing was,that it worked!!No fighting arena has been as glorified as the Colosseum till date..The fiery and blood gushing entertainment had taken its roots..
India was very diversified and had their own special entertainment mediums..The puppet and magic show,the wrestling fights and weapon competitions,the classical(dance and songs) and above all the nautanki’s (where the actors would perform story and dance on stage with various backgrounds and musical effects)..Most of the stories were from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata!! People would sit for hours long together to see the gods and demons come alive on stage and the good win over evil..!! THIS FORMED THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE TO BE INDIAN FILMS!!!
As the centuries passed there were great writers and philosophers..One of them was SHAKESPIERRE!! A BOY WHO HAD FAILED AND CAST OUT OF THE SCHOOL,Had just made the world study the language polished and standardised by him!! HAMLET written in the 16th century by WILLIAM SHAKESPIERRE and enacted on stage became a diamond classic of a play such that it is included in each and every educative medium all over the world wherever English language is taught..It was followed by many other great literary works by William..
Decades and decades passed by and there were great writers ,musicians and singers in all over the world and did great works!! Inventions were being made in every field!! Steam engine had been made!! Great innovations were in progress,but very few knew that the greatest of greatest invention in entertainment was yet to come!! A running camera with projector which would show action on screen..where actually people would be able to see photographic images move on the camera!! A man walking,a train running!! Was it really possible?? In the last two decades of the 19th Century great progress was made in this field!!
The very first of the inventions was the pinhole camera followed by the camera obscura where the light was passed through the lens outside and projected on the screen..But it was live..Real time..Not recording..Still this technology had to make great progress!! Which came about in the 3rd decade of the 19th century when running images were produced on drums and discs.. with independent invention by Simon von Stampfer (Stroboscope) in Austria, Joseph Plateau (Phenakistoscope) in Belgium and William Horner (zoetrope) in Britain..On June 19th 1872,Eadward Muybridge successfully conducted an experiment by filming a running horse..The experiment actually was conducted to see whether all the four horses hooves are in the air when its running..He placed 24 stereoscopic cameras connected to a wire 21 inches apart along 20 feet runaway parellel to the horses path..These wires would be tripped of by the horse and would take series of pics..He was able to film frames at the rate of 1000th of a second!! Étienne-Jules Mary invented a chronophotographic gun in 1882, which was capable of taking 12 consecutive frames a second, recording all the frames on the same picture. He used the chronophotographic gun for studying animals and human locomotion. The second experimental film, Roundhay Garden Scene, filmed by Louis Le Prince on October 14, 1888 in Roundhay, Leeds,West Yorkshire, England, UK is now known as the earliest surviving motion picture..Inspired by the works of Muybridge and Jules Mary many people started coming up with their own versions of cameras and projectors but each having some problem or another..There were several inventions like earlier Kinetographe, Kinetoscope, Cinematographe..Phantoscope was the first device which could click,print and project pictures at the same time.. Finally,At the Chicago 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Muybridge gave a series of lectures on the Science of Animal Locomotion in the Zoopraxographical Hall, built specially for that purpose in the "Midway Plaisance" arm of the exposition. He used his zoopraxiscope to show his moving pictures to a paying public, making the Hall the first commercial film theater!! Thomas Edison introduced to the public the pioneering invention based on this innovation, the Kinetograph - the first practical moving picture camera..
THE SILENT ERA HAD JUST BEGUN..!!
For next thirty years till the 3rd decade of the 20th century there was not much great progress in film making..The movies were shot and screened without sound with the narrative..
In 1926, Hollywood studio Warner Bros. introduced the "Vitaphone" system, producing short films of live entertainment acts and public figures and adding recorded sound effects and orchestral scores to some of its major features. During late 1927, Warners released The Jazz Singer, which was mostly silent but contained what is generally regarded as the first synchronized dialogue (and singing) in a feature film; but this process was actually accomplished first by Charles Taze Russell in 1914 with the lengthy film The Photo-Drama of Creation. This drama consisted of picture slides and moving pictures synchronized with phonograph records of talks and music.. By the end of 1929, Hollywood was almost all-talkie, with several competing sound systems (soon to be standardized). Total changeover was slightly slower in the rest of the world, principally for economic reasons. Cultural reasons were also a factor in countries like China and Japan, where silents co-existed successfully with sound well into the 1930s, indeed producing what would be some of the most revered classics in those countries, like Wu Yonggang's The Goddess (China, 1934) and Yasujiro Ozu's Was Born, But... (Japan, 1932). But even in Japan, a figure such as the benshi, the live narrator who was a major part of Japanese silent cinema, found his acting career was ending.
India was not too far behind..After the screening of lumiere movies In 1895 in London they came to Bombay in 1896..At first all short films were made by Hiralal Sen..The Prince of Persia in 1898 being the first.. The first Indian movie released in India was 'Shree Pundalik' by Dadasaheb Torne on 18 May 1912 at 'Coronation Cinematograph', Mumbai.
The first full-length motion picture in India was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke, Dadasaheb is the pioneer of Indian film industry a scholar on India's languages and culture, who brought together elements from Sanskrit epics to produce his Raja Harishchandra (1913), a silent film in Marathi. The female roles in the film were played by male actors..!! this was the emergence of cinema in India..hence the DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARD has great importance among the film fraternity!!
Ardeshir Irani released Alam Ara which was the first Indian talkie film, on 14 March 1931!! H.M. Reddy, produced and directed Bhakta Prahlada (Telugu), released on Sept 15, 1931 and Kalidas (Tamil) released on Oct 31, 1931. Kalidas was produced by Ardeshir Irani and directed by H.M. Reddy. These two films are south India's first talking films to have a theatrical release.
As sound technology advanced the 1930s saw the rise of music in Indian cinema with musicals such as Indra Sabha and Devi Devyani marking the beginning of song-and-dance in India's films. Studios emerged across major cities such as Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai as film making became an established craft by 1935, exemplified by the success of Devdas..!! Success of Devdas proved that the characterization will play an important role in future of Indian films!! As the then actors were just singers or performers and willfully came to the movies it was still not a gentlemens furore and was at no cost considered a stage for the women!!The film makers understood that, for great portrayal of character and connection with the audience, characterization was imminent which would be glorified only by a technique called as ACTING!! The people were about to see what they had only read in the ‘upannyas’ or the great literary works of the great writers and literereurs!!
As per the facts known the first actor was THESPIS,a greek chorus member, who stepped out of the chorus who were giving a narrative and spoke to them as a separate character!! The word THESPIAN is also evolved from the same character Thespis!! He was the first actor of this universe!!
Technique of acting was mainly popularized by a Russian theatre actor and Director CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKY..He developed a technique called as methodic acting which was popularized by STELLA ADLER who trained MARLON BRANDO(Famed as VITO CORLEONE in GODFATHER) Robert De Niro etc and LEE STRASBERG who trained top notch actors like AL PACINO, ROBERT DENIRO,DUSTIN HOFFMAN and beauty queen MARILYN MONROE!!! Such was/is the impact of acting and the instructors..Methodic acting in short is a technique where the actor trains himself to act for a particular character by learning the lines and be able to work off book or without a script..As all these actors went on to become great performers there was no looking back for this art!!
In India,We had the emergence of good quality actors as soon as 1935 when Ashok Kumar paired with Devika Rani for Achhoot Kanya! K.L SEHGAL created ripples in the role of Devdas where he sung the songs himself..The whole of India was taken by a wave of these musicals and actors..Next to come was the very great DILIP KUMAR(YOUSUF KHAN)The first actor to have won a filmfare award and DEV ANAND,RAJ KUMAR,SUNIL DUTT,AMITABH BACCHAN,PRAN etc the list goes on..many great directors, actors, writers coming into the foray with their artistic works.
While the Hollywood was already in the process of making sci fi movies like ET(80’s), India was still under the impact of realist movies also called parallel movies..With NEECHA NAGAR and DO BHIGHA ZAMEEN(40’s),the plight of the poor and the down trodden had been brought out into the open..With the movies from the great Satyajit Ray PATHER PANCHALI Triology,V.Shantaram’s ‘DO ANKHEN BARAH HAATH’ and Mehboob Khan’s Mother India ,filmmaking was never the same again..K.Asif broke all barriers of spending when he constructed the set of the song ‘PYAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA” in 2.25 lacs Rs for the great classical movie MUGAL E AZAM HAVING THE SILKEN BEAUTY Madhu Bala and The handsome DILIP KUMAR..Guru Dutt created ripples with his masterpieces PYAASA and KAGAZ KE PHOOL..Raj Kapoor’s AWAARA and SHRI 420 were a blockbuster and appreciated widely in India and and the Soviet in overseas especially..Such was the impact of those two decades. The era of cinema had begun and was going great guns with people flocking to the cinemas and waiting for the next films release..the music and songs of the films gave new identities to musicians, singers and choreographers who now are the main backbone of the films today..When the Indian Cinema was at its peak with its Action Decade leaded by the Big Bachchan,Hollywood set its foot in the space with STAR WARS and great sci fi movies like the TERMINATOR SERIES!! People had all in their plate!! The early 80’s had arrived!
But apart from all this hustling and bustling of cinema ,the beauty,glamour and ecstacy of film making..there was one more invention in making,ready to rock the world with its onset!! It would definitely be a competitor to the cinemas as it would bring the running images RIGHT INTO YOUR HOME!! TELE VISION!!!
In 1884 Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a 23-year-old university student in Germany, patented the first electro mechanical television system..It worked but not to the satisfaction and contentment.. Other technologies had to be updated to make this work.. In 1907 Russian scientist Boris Rosing became the first inventor to use a CRT in the receiver of an experimental television system. He used mirror-drum scanning to transmit simple geometric shapes to the CRT.. In 1927, Philo Farnsworth made the world's first working television system with electronic scanning of both the pickup and display devices. In 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were carried by cable to television stations in Berlin and Leipzig where the public could view the games live.
In 1935 the German firm of Fernseh A.G. and the United States firm Farnsworth Television owned by Philo Farnsworth signed an agreement to exchange their television patents and technology to speed development of television transmitters and stations in their respective countries.
On 2 November 1936 the BBC began transmitting the world's first public regular high-definition service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in north London. It therefore claims to be the birthplace of television broadcasting as we know it today.. The outbreak of World War II prevented it from being manufactured on a large scale until after the end of the war. True regular commercial television network programming did not begin in the U.S. until 1948. During that year, legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini made his first of ten TV appearances conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and Texaco Star Theater, starring comedian Milton Berle, became television's first gigantic hit show..
Terrestrial television in India started with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959 with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Up until 1975, only seven Indian cities had a television service and Doordarshan remained the sole provider of television in India. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. National telecasts were introduced in 1982. In the same year, colour TV was introduced in the Indian market. Indian small screen programming started off in the early 1980s. At that time there was only one national channel Doordarshan..Then serials like TAMAS, BUNIYAAD(BOTH India Pakistan partition based),HUMLOG had great viewership in India further strengthening the TV bond with the people..Before the people had only the cinemas to go but the TV brought entertainment on their doorsteps..rather, in the room..Daily progression of story in 30 mins slots of different emotions gave the much needed break to the viewers..But a miracle was about to happen..The two great epics of Indian History and Mythology..which was first written, then composed and sung by various poets and sages since thousands of years ,performed by Nautanki’s(STRRET THEATRES OF INDIA), the theatre and the Puppets since decades and centuries suddenly came alive on the TELE VISION in the form of RAMAYANA and the MAHABHARAT..with scintillating performances by actors and great direction from Indian film veterans Shri Ramanand Sagar and Shri B.R Chopra.. Sometimes I wonder who else could have done that!! The TELE VISION viewership went soaring sky high and concretized the technology for ever.. I would say that the tv was made available in 1965 but born after this tele serials.. This serial notched up the world record in viewership numbers for a single program..Making a 10 crore business in 1980’s from a tele serial was no joke but only a dream which was made into reality by Shri B.R CHOPRA..Then the channels multiplied by making avail more satellites and then in early nineties the cable television came into service..The east and the west came together..The Indians were watching the BAYWATCH,BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL..while the West was watching the Indian Mythologicals..Cine world and the common mans life was never the same..
The children used to watch the Charlie Chaplin movies in addition of the cartoons of He-Man, spiderman, FIRE BALL XL5 and above all THE STAR TREK-THE ENTERPRISE..William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Captain Kirk and Mr Spock respectively..The television had just entered the Space Era..We had the Olympics, The ICC world Cup, the FIFA world cup time and again which would provide great entertainment to people around the globe..International news could be seen at the click of the button, any movies preferred could be seen from Dvd player..The choices were available and so did the service..In the current scenarios we have all available information live on TV..news, bomb blasts, sports, politics, education etc.
Variety of choices has been provided to us at the flick of the finger..But somehow and somewhere I think that the creativity is loosing and the business is winning..The People and companies had invested in such devices for the sheer brilliance of the technology and now there are no ethics..We had never thought before that the same invention where a film of a running horse would be a milestone now would show open nude films to all..The art of story telling is now fading and the advertisement and sponsors are winning..They are more concerned about the underwear and the lingerie that the leads will wear rather than the story requirement..The investors and financers look at the money part of the project and the art is losing its shine!! The media and the marketing guys run the project as recovery is the main factor..The lead actors calls the shots and not the directors anymore!!
These are endangered times where the visionaries may quit and the existing may fade!! I am sorry to say but even the great philosopher ARISTOTLE or SOPHOCLES would not have thought about that,you know why? Because they were artists not businessmen!!