Since Bhojpuri is the prime language of Gangetic plane, any chapter of Indian Cinema is incomplete without the Bhojpuri Cinema. Indian Cinema has completed 100 years but it is the 52nd year of Bhojpuri Cinema. During this journey, the Bhojpuri film industry saw many ups and downs and now stand a formidable force.
Beginning of Bhojpuri Cinema has been very interesting. The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, who hailed from Bihar, was a Bhojpuri folk. He loved Bhojpuri by heart. In 1960s, he met Bollywood actor Nazir Hussain and asked him to make a movie in Bhojpuri, which eventually led to first Bhojpuri film release in 1963.
The history of Bhojpuri cinema begins with well-received film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (Mother Ganges, I will offer you a yellow sari), which was produced by Biswanath Prasad Shahabadi under the banner of Nirmal Pictures and directed by Kundan Kumar. Throughout the following decades, films were produced in fits and starts. Bidesiya (Foreigner, 1963, directed by S N Tripathi), Ganga (Ganges, 1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) and Lagi Nahi Chute Rama, were very popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s. However this era produced very popular, melodious and demanding songs. Hey Ganga maiya tohe piyari chadhibo sainya se kar da milnawa hay ram…,Lagi nahi chute rama chahe jiya jaye…, Hansi Hansi panawa khiyawale beimanwa…
Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo is turning 50. The first-ever Bhojpuri film, starring Kumkum, Helen, Nasir Hussain, Ashim Kumar, Leela Mishra, TunTun and boasting of a soundtrack rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi. The industry gave some of the memorable films in black and white in the 1960s. It even inspired Hindi movies like Raj Kapoor- starrer Teesri Qasam which was based on a story by Bihar’s famous litterateur Phanishwar Nath Renu. But the industry fell on bad times when action movies took over the Hindi film industry in the 70s.
Bhojpuri film industry were trapped in common evils of Hindi cinema. In 1979, veteran Nazir Hussain again produced another hit Balam Pardesiya. Dangal was another hit of this decade. But the quality of Bhojpuri films started going down rapidly. In 80s 84 films are released but of no quality. Some films are exception such as Mai directed by Rajkumar Sharma and Hamar Bhauji directed by Kalptaru continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. Nadiya Ke Paar is a 1982 Hindi-Bhojpuri blockbuster directed by Govind Moonis and starring Sachin, Sadhana Singh, Inder Thakur, Mitali, Savita Bajaj, Sheela David, Leela Mishra and Soni Rathod. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade. By 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished. Only 17 films are produced during the 1990s.
But the industry revived its golden era in 2000s. Saiyyan Hamar directed by Mohan Prasad with superstardom Ravi Kisan was Silver Jubilee hit. This was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi (2005) another hit film directed by Mohan Prasad and Sasura Bada Paisa Wala (2005). Sasura Bada Paisa Wala introduced Manoj Tiwari, a reputed folk singer, in the Bhojpuri film industry. In the decade a new promising star came forward-Dinesh Lal Yadav alias Nirahua. In 2010s, Bhojpuri film industry attracted the audience and bigwigs of Hindi cinema.
Now the industry is growing but the problem with Bhojpuri films is that they do not have the patronage of the family audience anymore. But film makers have forgotten that this is because of the content. They have to realise that the Bhojpuri films can survive without vulgarity. They should stop the cheap imitation of Hindi films and be dependent on the essence of Bhojpuri land.