1941 : Wadia Movietone’s Court Dancer (English) released at Metro in Bombay and sent to the USA. D.M. Pancholi’s Khazanchi becomes a trendsetter for its foot-tapping music by Ghulam Haider. First Pushtu Film - Sarhad pictures Laila Majnu. V. Shantaram splits with his partners at Prabhat. He briefly joins Film Advisory Board as Chief Producer after his predecessor Alex Shaw leaves for London.
1942 : Production hit due to shortages of raw stock. Government restricts lengths of films to 11,000 feet to conserve stock for war propaganda films. Mehboob Khan, Shantaram, Homi Wadia and A.R. Kardar set up their independent Film Production Units. The Bombay Film Society is formed. First film in Sindhi, Ekta and Marwari, Nazrana. V.P. Sathe and others start the journal Sound featuring politics, fiction, reviews and essays on Indian Film.
1943 : Government imposes control of supply of raw stock. Exhibition of ‘approved’ propaganda films made compulsory under Defence of India Rules 44A. Kismet one of the biggest hits in Indian Film history is released. Information Films of India is started. K. Ramnoth starts the Cine Technicians Association (CTA) of South India. Court Dancer finds release in the USA. Kailash Mukhopadhyay starts the seminal Bengali Film monthly, Rupamancha.
1944 : Government appoints Film Advisory Committee to regulate distribution of raw film. Increase in Entertainment Tax in Bombay, Madras, United Province and Central Province. Death of Dadasaheb Phalke.
1945 : Film Trade representatives resign from the Film Advisory Committee. Control of distribution of raw film stock removed.
1946 : Information Films of India disbanded. Dharti ke Laal produced by Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and directed by K.A. Abbas wins critical acclaim at home and abroad. Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani made as a war-effort film. Ranakdevi establishes the Gujarati Cinema as a financially viable industry.
1947 : Vijay Bhatt’s Ram Rajya (1943), A.R. Kardar’s Shah Jehan(1946) and V.Shantaram’s Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani shown at Canadian National Exhibition in Totonto. AVM Film Co. starts with Nam Iruvar. Paul Zils and Fali Billimoria start the Documentary Unit - India. Udaya Studios is the first film studio in Kerala. Satyajit Ray, Chidananda Das Gupta and others start the Calcutta Film Society. Foundation of the Bengali film weekly Rupanjali. Deaths of Master Vinayak, K.L. SaigalK.L. Saigal.
1948 : Government revives the production of documentaries and newsreels. S.S. Vasan’s Chandralekha is his first major hit in Hindi. Uday Shankar’s Kalpana is applauded in India and abroad for its innovation and artistry. RK Films with Raj Kapoor as Producer and Director debuts with Aag. Ajit is made on 16mm Kodachrome and blown up to 35mm. Nehru announces a freeze on construction of movie theatres. The Bengali film monthly Chitrabani is initiated.
1949 : June 30. Government re-introduces compulsory exhibition of ‘approved’ documentary films. Countrywide closure of cinemas in protest against the Government’s taxation policy. Entertainment Tax is raised to 50% in the Central Provinces and 75% in West Bengal. Indian Cinematograph 1918 amended to include new censorship classification for ‘Adult’ and ‘Unrestricted’ exhibitions of films. Film Enquiry Committee appointed under chairmanship of S.K. Patil. Films Division is set up. Dharti ke Lal is the first film to receive widespread release in the U.S.S.R. Dev Anand and Chetan Anand start Navketan Productions
The top five grossing films at the Indian Box Office in 1940
Rank Title Notes