Parallel cinema is movement that began in the 1960s in India with a group of socially conscious film directors who began to produce low-budget films in parallel to the country’s highly successful commercial Bollywood film industry

These films did not offer singing and dancing and focused on social and political issues affecting the country. The rise of parallel cinema happened for two reasons. In 1971 the Indian government did not renew their contract to import Hollywood films, a move that proved decisive in dislodging the dominance of American films in India and allowed home-grown directors to flourish. Early parallel cinema films were also state financed thanks to the establishment of the Film Finance Corporation in 1969. This funding was cut in the mid-1970s due to the leftish nature of many of the films being produced, yet the movement continued to grow and was financed by independent production companies.

Filmmakers associated with parallel cinema include Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Kumar Shahani and Mani Kaul.