July 05, 2020
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1960: Cinema

These were happy times for Indian cinema

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1960: Cinema
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Shyam Benegal, Filmmaker
These were happy times for Indian cinema. Raj Kapoor was in the middle of his career, and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai, released that year, reflected his classical optimism about the Indian project. Mughal-e-Azam was another big success, as was Chaudhvi ka Chand, with my cousin Guru Dutt in it. His previous film, Kaagaz ke Phool, had been a big flop and this unexpected success helped him recover financially. But my greatest inspiration was Satyajit Ray, whose film Devi bore his trademark of examining difficult social subjects. Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara was another such film, looking at the sorrow and difficulties of refugees from East Pakistan. And yet it was Manmohan Desai’s debut film, Chhalia, also made in 1960, which would show the way for a new kind of cinema—one of pure entertainment, catering to mass tastes, that would go on to dominate Indian cinema.

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