Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose

Updated: April 25, 2013 19:10 IST

Bollywood's queen bee Sridevi continues to rule the hearts of several cine-goers. The emergence of Sridevi as the first female superstar of Bollywood has been chosen as the leading defining moment in Indian cinema by the readers of NDTV.com, who describe her as a “national treasure.”

Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Sridevi in Bollywood: Bollywood's queen bee Sridevi continues to rule the hearts of several cine-goers. The emergence of Sridevi as the first female superstar of Bollywood has been chosen as the leading defining moment in Indian cinema by the readers of NDTV.com, who describe her as a “national treasure.”

Sridevi began her career as a child actor in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films. Her Bollywood debut was as a child artiste in Julie (1975) and hit big time with Sadma and Himmatwala.

At the peak of her career, Sridevi had scripts woven around her character which was often took precedence over the hero. She made a powerful comeback to the silver screen after 15 years with the 2012 film English Vinglish.

Sridevi has been honoured with the Padma Shri this year and also received NDTV's Entertainer Of The Year award.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy: The Apu trilogy, made up of the films Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar, and based on the novels of Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, placed Satyajit Ray and Indian cinema on the world map. The movies, a poetic and evocative look at the life of the protagonist Apu, from a young village boy to manhood, won three National Awards and seven awards at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Rajinikanth, from villain to hero: Tamil superstar Rajinikanth's god-like status is the stuff of legends. Virtually worshipped by millions of fans, a Rajinikanth release is celebrated like a festival in south India.

Rajinikanth, a bus conductor before he became an actor, began his film career with the Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. He carved a niche playing the bad guy, often with Kamal Haasan playing the hero, and gradually switched to leading man roles.

His unique style and dialogue delivery won over generations of movie-buffs. So intense is his appeal that it's been several years since a character played by Rajinikanth has died on screen as producers fear that it would lead to a fan rampage.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Amitabh Bachchan's Angry Young Man: The man who personified the angst of the early ‘70s, Mr Bachchan's breakthrough role was in the 1973 film Zanjeer in which he played Inspector Vijay Khanna, the first of many famous Vijays he was to play.

The most enduring icons of the India's entertainment industry, Amitabh Bachchan left an indelible imprint on mainstream Bollywood with films like Deewar, Sholay, Trishul, Amar Akbar Anthony, Kaalia, Silsila and Agneepath.

And he's not done yet.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Era of Rajesh Khanna: The heartthrob of the ‘70s, the term ‘superstar' was coined for Rajesh Khanna. Despite being written off as a “flop hero” when he started out, Rajesh Khanna single-handedly broke the spell of the reigning trinity of heroes – Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. The actor's record of 15 consecutive solo hits from 1969 to 1972 remains unbroken in the film industry. With acclaimed performances in Aradhana, Anand, Kati Patang and Amar Prem, Rajesh Khanna inspired fans into such a frenzy that the famous song Chingaari koi bhadke, which was set against the Howrah Bridge, could not be shot on location because producers feared the gathered crowd would be massive that the bridge itself would give way. Letters were written in blood to him, and his driver had to clean lipstick marks off his car everyday.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Sivaji Ganesan in Tamil movies: In the Tamil lexicon, Sivaji Ganesan is legendary. The first ever Indian star to win a Best Actor award at an international film festival, Sivaji Ganesan is cited by many South Indian actors, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, as their biggest influence. He played a variety of roles, from villain to hero, and was beloved for his portrayal of mythological characters. Many of his films were remade in other languages. Navarathiri, in which he played nine different roles, was remade in Bollywood as Naya Din Nayi Raat starring Sanjeev Kumar. He played a supporting character in Dharti, starring Rajendra Kumar, which was a remake of his own film Sivandha Mann. He was known as Nadigar Thillagam, which means the pride of actors.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi in Arth: The two leading ladies of parallel cinema, Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi, came together for this brilliant 1983 film, hailed for its honest and unforgiving examination of an extra-marital affair. Shabana Azmi won a National Award for her portrayal of the abandoned wife. Smita Patil's “other woman” was said to have been based on actress Parveen Babi and her real-life relationship with the film's director Mahesh Bhatt.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Dr Rajkumar in Kannada cinema: Kannada star Dr Rajkumar began acting at the age of eight and starred in over 220 films. Winner of two National Film awards for Best Actor, his popularity was unmatched while he was active in movies. Unlike most other South Indian stars, he never appeared in films in any other language but Kannada, though some of him movie were dubbed into Telugu. He was able to influence the political climate of his time without actually being involved in politics himself, and is credited with promoting and protecting the Kannada language. Dr Rajkumar was also known as a singer of talent. At 72, he was kidnapped by smuggler Veerappan, throwing the state government into a 108-day crisis. He was finally released unharmed.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zameen: The tragic drama examined the soci-economic conditions in an India still fitting into its own skin post-independence. A tale of a farmer who is compelled by indebtedness to relocate to the big city and become a rickshaw-puller, Do Bigha Zameen exposes the vice-like grip that ruthless zamindars had on agriculture. The film is generally regarded as one of the earliest and finest examples of "neo-realism" in Indian cinema and was hailed for the gritty performance by lead actor Balraj Sahni.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
South Indian actresses invade Bollywood: Vyjayanthimala led the charge of the southern brigade. Star of classic films like Madhumati and Sangam, she paved the way for actresses like Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini, Rekha, Shabana Azmi and Sridevi who followed where she had so boldly led. The South invasion continued with modern actresses like Aishwarya Rai, Tabu, Vidya Balan and the new crop of names – Asin, Ileana D'Cruz, Tamannaah and Taapsee.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Salim-Javed movies: Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar brought the writer to the forefront of Indian cinema and often wielded immense control over the casting and production of films they wrote. They introduced the Angry Young Man in Zanjeer. They wrote some of Bollywood's biggest critical and commercial hits including Deewar, Trishul, Don, Saagar, Mr India and, of course, the landmark Sholay.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
Parveen Babi in Deewar: Anita, the working girl who drinks, smokes and goes to bed with her lover, shattered the mould of the typical Bollywood heroine by venturing into the preserve of the vamp.

The scene where she was seen smoking in bed with Amitabh Bachchan remains one of the moments that changed Indian attitudes on-screen and, by extension, off it forever.

The role also helped Parveen Babi make the cover of Time magazine.
Indian cinema @100: Defining moments you chose
The Kapoors: In a country where the children of doctors become doctors and the children of lawyers become lawyers, it seems odd that there is only one real dynasty in Bollywood. The legacy of patriarch Prithviraj Kapoor was handed down three generations – his sons Raj, Shammi and Shashi became legends in their own right. Raj's sons Randhir and Rishi were leading stars of their generation, and Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir make up the fourth generation. The Kapoors are a force to reckon with in Bollywood, and have given it some of it's most memorable moments.

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