From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Bollywood Turns 100

1913: Raja Harishchandra is the first feature-length silent movie to be made in India, centering on the legendary, honor-bound king of the same name.

1924: One of Bollywood’s earliest hits, Savitri, is a coproduction with an overseas studio, Rome’s UG Italiana.

1967: The Dirty Dozen, said to be inspired by the 1957 Bollywood classic Do Aanken Barah Haath, rakes in a then-staggering $45 million at the box office.

1998: After earning international attention with his movie Bandit Queen, director Shekhar Kapur directs Cate Blanchett to her first Best Actress Oscar nomination in Elizabeth.

2001: Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, filmed in English, Hindi and Punjabi, becomes a breakout art-house hit worldwide.

2003: Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood’s top female star, becomes a global ambassador for L’Oréal alongside Penélope Cruz and Andie MacDowell.

2008: Indian billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment enters a joint venture with DreamWorks, allowing Steven Spielberg to leave Paramount.

2009: Slumdog Millionaire scores big at the Oscars, with two statuettes going to Bollywood composer A. R. Rahman.

James Cameron admits he was referencing blue-skinned Hindu god Krishna when designing the Na’vi in Avatar.

2010: Woody Allen signs both Freida Pinto and veteran character actor Anupam Kher for lead roles in his dramedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

2011: Jennifer Aniston costars with Adam Sandler in Just Go with It, a remake of Hindi-cinema hit Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (which itself was a do-over of the 1969 rom-com Cactus Flower).

2012: Top Mumbai costume designer Arjun Bhasin is handpicked by director Ang Lee to oversee Oscar winner Life of Pi.

2013: Bollywood sweetheart Priyanka Chopra teams up with Black Eyed Pea Will.i.am for pop-dance song “In My City.”

Amitabh Bachchan, India’s answer to Kirk Douglas, films a cameo as Meyer Wolfsheim in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival makes India its guest country for the first time.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.