Changes between Version 1 and Version 2 of Bombay Talkies

Jan 26, 2012, 4:54:44 AM (12 years ago)



  • Bombay Talkies

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    44Film studio set up by Himansu Rai in 1934. Among the biggest pre-WW2 talkie studios, it was the only major one launched as a fully fledged corporate body with a board of directors including F.E. Dinshaw, Sir Chimanlal Setalvad, Sir Chunilal Mehta, Sir Pheroze Sethna and Sir Cowasji Jehangir as some of the ‘dozen individuals who, by their control over banks, insurance companies and investment trusts, occupy commanding positions in the industrial life of Bombay’ (A.R. Desai, 1948). It was one of the first studios with backing from major financial institutions, paying a regular dividend from the third year onwards. The resident star was Devika Rani. The scenarists were Niranjan Pal and J.S. Casshyap. The technical team was imported from Europe, including director Franz Osten, cameraman Josef Wirsching, set designer Carl von Spreti (later Count Carl von Spreti, the West German ambassador murdered in Guatemala in 1970) and soundman Len Hartley. The studio had three major phases. The first, the Rai-Osten era (Achhut Kanya, 1936; Kangan, 1939) ended with Osten’s arrest at the beginning of WW2 and, later, Rai’s death (1940). The second saw Devika Rani, as production controller, split the studio into two production groups, one led by Amiya Chakravarty (best-known film of this period: Jwar Bhata, 1944, introducing Dilip Kumar) and the other led by S. Mukherjee with Rai Bahadur Chunilal. The latter group broke away to start Filmistan (1942). The formal orthodoxy of Chakravarty’s work (Basant, 1942) is clearly counterposed by a series of influential films, from N.R. Acharya’s Naya Sansar (1941) to Kismet (1943), all direct precedents of the Filmistan signature style. This included the early films of Gyan Mukherjee, Nazir Ajmeri and the writer Manto. The third phase began when star Ashok Kumar, who had moved to Filmistan, and sound recordist Savak Vacha returned and took over the studio (1947); it includes the early work of stars Dev Anand and Shyam, along with films by Kamal Amrohi, Shaheed Latif, Bimal Roy, Nitin Bose and Phani Majumdar. In the early 50s the studio declined despite efforts by the workers’ association to save it, and it made only one more film, Majumdar’s Baadbaan (1954).