As is known, ” Raja Harishchandra ” , the first Indian film was made in 1913. ” Alam Ara ” , the first Indian talkie was made in 1931. Films in other major Indian languages followed soon. But Bhojpuri, though a major dialect of Hindi belt of India , waited till 1961, almost 48 long years after the first Indian film. This in spite of the fact that almost all the major hits of early Indian Cinema had rural north Indian theme . Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani’s ” Achhut Kanya” is the most glaring example of this fact. It was released in 1936. Dilip Kumar‘s ” Ganga Jumna ” was made in Awadhi , a major dialect of Uttar Pradesh . It was released in 1960. Bhojpuri Cinema had to wait for one more year, in spite of the fact that ” Ganga Jumna ” was a golden jubilee hit of its time. In the above mentioned films Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar played rural , rustic characters of Uttar Pradesh. Both the films were major hits. Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar were gigantic stars of their times , but in spite of this fact, there were no breakthrough in Bhojpuri films.
Bhojpuri cinema history begins in 1961 with the well-received film “ Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ” , which was directed by Kundan Kumar.Asim Kumar and Kumkum were the stars of this super hit film. Its music was provided by Chitragupt, was extremely popular. Lyrics were written by Shailendra and songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsale. Its hit music is remembered even today. Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as ” Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram “, ” Bidesiya ” (1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) , “ Loha Singh ” and ” Ganga ” (1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s.
The industry took off again in 2001 with the “Silver Jubilee” hit ” Saiyyan Hamar ” ( directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom.This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including ” Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ” (2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” (2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry‘s rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2010, he and Ravi Kissan are still the leading actors of Bhojpuri films, along with Nirahua and Pawan Singh. The extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema’s visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine, ” Bhojpuri City ” ,which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year. Many of the major stars of mainstream Bollywood cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, have also recently worked in Bhojpuri films. Mithun Chakraborty’s Bhojpuri debut ” Bhole Shankar ” , released in 2008, is considered as the biggest Bhojpuri hit of all time.Also in 2008, a 21-minute diploma film Bhojpuri film by Siddharth Sinha, ” Udedh Bun ” was selected for world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival,later it won the National Film Award for Best Short fiction Film.
Once upon a time writer-filmmaker Kamal Anand dubbed Namak Halal into Bhojpuri , after sitting on its copyright for eight years, as there was no market for films in that dialect. “But today the situation has changed.The new version is called ” Babua Khiladi Dadua Anadi ” with Amitabh as ‘Babua’. The film’s memorable songs such as Jawani Jaaneman, Raat Baki Baat Baki and Pag Ghungaroo Baandh Meera Nachi Thi have been peppered in Bhojpuri.The new cinema has attracted producers like Subhash Ghai, Rajshri, Nitin Manmohan and Tinu Verma. Actors Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Nagma are already taking lessons in the language. Even Columbia Tristar briefly toyed with the idea of getting one of its films dubbed.
“It makes good business sense as these films sell in Bihar, UP, and parts of Punjab and Maharashtra,”says producer-director Ranjan Kumar Singh. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees. “Most Bhojpuri films are made in small budgets, usually Rs 20-30 lakh, and they fetch Rs 1-2 crore.”Several of these films are grossing 10 times their production costs. A good film can even make a profit of Rs 10-12 crore.
A few years ago, this wasn’t the case. While Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi films got their due at the box office, Bhojpuri films didn’t really recapture the supersuccess of the 1982 blockbuster ” Nadiya Ke Paar” , which starred Sachin and Sadhna Singh, and was made under the respectable banner of Rajshri Productions.
Twenty two years hence, the tide finally turned. In 2005, Manoj, a struggling singer, debuted in sex comedy ” Sasura Bada Paisewala.” The film ran for more than 50 weeks in Varanasi and Kanpur in UP and for 25 weeks elsewhere. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” made with a modest budget of Rs 30 lakh, grossed a stupendous Rs 15 crore. Manoj’s other films such as ” Daroga Babu I Love You ” then went on to do a business of Rs 4 crore and ” Bandhan Tutey Na ” has already made Rs 3 crore..
New moral standards are guarding Bhojpuri films. In ” Firangi Dulhania ” , a story about a village boy from Bihar who goes to study in London and returns with a foreign bride, director Ranjan Kumar Singh, has got the exciting services of an Ukrainian actress, Tanya (what else..)
Diwakar Pandey, Sujeet Kumar, Manoj Tiwari, Ravi Kishan, Nazir Hussain, Rakesh Pandey, Jai Tilak, Dinesh Lal Yadav, Bhushan Tiwari, Kunal, Ram Singh, Anand Rai, J.Mohan, Vinod Tiwari, Asim Kumar, Hari shukla, Brij Kishore, Vijai Khare, Kewal Krishna, Lalitesh, Dinesh Kaushik, Manoj Verma, Devendra Podwal, Kiran Kumar, and JeevanSushil Singh,Vinod,Vinay, Brijesh Tripathi Laxman Chaturvedi, Rajendra Karn, Mukesh Kumar Barnwal, Mrityunjay Sharma, Pawan singh, parbesh lal yadav, amit kumar yadav, Saagara Nageena Tripathy, Trinath
- Padma Khanna, Nagma, Rani Chatterjee, Madhuri Mishra, Madhu Mishra, Meera Madhuri, Prema Narayan, Heena Kausar, Rekha Sahai, Leela Mishra, Sheela David, Kalpana Iyer, Jayshree T., Sima Naaj, Bandini Mishra,Gauri Khurana, Tina Ghai, Jai Prabha, Sunayana, Rambha, and Helen.Aruna Irani,
- Vishwanath Prasad Shahabadi, Ramayan Tiwari, V K Aadarsh, Shakti Samanta, Bachchoo Bhai, Ashok Chand Jain, Lalji Gupta, Dilip Bose, Kanhaiya Singh, Gyanendra Srivastava, Jagdish SinghEla Rai, Mukti Narayan Pathak, Jawahar Jha, V P Vishwakarma,Jeetendra SinghVijay Trived, Vishnu Jain, Sita Ram, Lal Ji Yadav, Paras Aarya, and Deepa Narayan Jha, Aarati BhattacharyaVijay Khare, [udaisenapati]
Nazir Hussain, Ranjeet singh , Kundan Kumar, Rajkumar Sharma, Prakash Jha, Siddharth Sinha, Abhishek Chhadha, Ashok Jain, Lalji Gupta, and Kalpataru.Ram Nath Rai,[Udaisenapati][Aslam Sheque][Raj Kumar]
Vinay Bihari, Rajesh Rajneesh [Madhuker Anand]
Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (1962) • Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram (1963) • Ganga (1965) • Bidesiya (1963) • Bhouji (1965) • Loha Singh (1966) • Dher Chalaki Jinkara (1971) • Daku Rani Ganga (1976/II) • Amar Suhagin (1978) • Balam Pardesia(1979) • Chanwa Ke Take Chakor (1981) • Saiyan Magan Pahelwani Mein (1981) • Saiyan Tore Karan (1981) • Hamar Bhauji (1983) • Chukti Bhar Senur (1983) • Dulha Ganga Paar Ke (1986) • ;’Jug Jug Jiya More Lal‘Roos Gailen Saiyen Hamaar(1988) • • Ganga (2006)
Bhojpuri cinema is also watched in many parts of the world, where Indian diasporahas settled, including Brazil, Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, South Africa, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many colonizers faced labor shortages due to the abolition of slavery; thus, they imported many Indians, many from Bhojpuri-speaking regions. Today, some 200 million people in the West Indies, Oceania, and South America speak Bhojpuri as a native or second language and they also watch Bhojpuri films.
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