wiki:Bombay Talkies

Version 11 (modified by Lawrence Liang, 12 years ago) (diff)


Bombay Talkies

Film studio set up by Himanshu 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.

It was a high-tech movie studio of its time, with sound and echo-proof stages, laboratories, editing rooms, and a preview theatre. It was the first movie company of India, which was a public limited company and was registered as a company under the Indian Companies Act. Soon, Bombay Talkies emerged as a well organized, self-sufficient, and profitable company, and made public issues, declared dividends and bonus, and at its heyday commanded a good standing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

On account of its association with European technicians, particularly Germans like Osten, the Bombay Talkies set a high technical standard for film making in India. Bombay Talkies also imparted a higher level of dignity to the medium of movie making and acting. This film company gave some stars to the Indian film industry, including Devika Rani, Ashok Kumar, Leela Chitnis, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Mehmood etc. Bombay Talkies also gave a new dimension to themes of films, and produced films on controversial topics like the story of love (Achhut Kanya) between an Untouchable girl and a high caste Hindu Brahmin boy. Other notable movies produced by the Bombay Talkies included famous movies of the period like Jawani ki Hawa (1935), starring Devika Rani, and Jeevan Naiya (1936), a romantic movie starring Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar.

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After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Bombay Talkies faced a number of problems, resulting in a nervous breakdown and subsequent demise of Himanshu Rai, the studio's founder. That time, the another founder key figure of the studio Rajnarayan Dube (The pillar of the Indian Cinema), played a very much important role during this crucial period by giving financial support (Rs. 4,10,000/-) to Himanshu Rai. After demise of Himansu Rai, The control of the film company passed on to Devika Rani, who was also made the controller of production of the Bombay Studios. Devika Rani continued the high tradition of Bombay Talkies. Some of the famous movies of the period included Kangan and Bandhan, and famous artists who in films produced by Bombay Talkies were Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.

Soon a rift arose between Devika Rani and her managers, Sashadhar Mukherjee and Ashok Kumar, who began a rival camp. They tried alternating production between the two camps. In that crucial condition, Rajnarayan Dube and Devika Rani finally decided with their mutual understanding to close down the film company 'Bombay Talkies' in 1954. Among those who left Bombay Talkies after training there as a screenplay and dialogue and film story writer under Himanshu Rai and Rajnarayan Dube was Aghajani Kashmeri (Aka Kashmiri and Agha Jani), who would go on to write more than 50 movies, including several silver jubilee (25 weeks), golden jubilee (50 weeks) hits. Aghajani wrote his very first movie for Himanshu Rai and Rajnarayan Dube called Vachan (Vow), which was directed by a German man, Franz Osten. Record of this movie is available in the U.S. Library of Congress. This is also a great fortunate of Bombay Talkies that all the mega stars who started their carrier in this company were awarded Dadasaheb Phalke Award like Devika Rani, Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Devanand etc.

'Rajnarayan Dube' (10 Oct 1910 – 9 Dec 1990) was the founder of 'Dube Industries', established in 1929. Its head office was in Marine lines in 'Dube House'. He was a great[peacock term] financier and had a big construction company. He had played a very much important[peacock term] role to save the Bombay Talkies to run it successfully[peacock term]. Whenever any problems arose in Bombay Talkies, Rajnarayan Dube tried to solve those problems with all resources and supports. But in the last after 1950, the managers of Bombay Talkies created some major problems among them. After this, again he tried a lot to convince them for solve those difficult problems, but it was not possible to make the situation favourable. Devika Rani was alone in this disputes and asked help from Rajnarayan Dube. He helped her in all respects in that difficult situation. Devika Rani was a great personality. Devika Rani was awarded Padma Shri in 1958 for her great contribution in Indian Cinema, and She was the first to receive 'Dadasaheb Phalke Award' in 1969. She was the first person who became the Member of parliament.

Bombay Talkies introduced 'Dilip Kumar'. His first film, Jwar Bhata, was released in 1944. Devika Rani helped Khan's entry into the Bollywood film industry. Hindi author Bhagwati Charan Varma gave him the screen name Dilip Kumar and gave him the leading role in his film Jwar Bhata. Devika Rani and Rajnarayan Dube spotted Khan in one of Pune's Aundh military canteens.

In 1944, Prithviraj Kapoor requested Devika Rani and Rajnarayan Dube for his son Raj Kapoor (Ranbir Raj kapoor) to give a chance to work in Bombay Talkies. Raj Kapoor's carrier was carved in Bombay Talkies. After failing in his matriculation examination, Raj Kapoor first joined Bombay Talkies and began to work as an attendant on the sets of Bombay Talkies. Later, Raj Kapoor assisted another movies of bombay Talkies under famous director Kedar Sharma as a clapper boy. Once Kedar Sharma, while shooting in his studio, found that young Raj Kapoor did not obey his orders, he slapped him on the sets. Slap on his face changed everything for Raj Kapoor. This was like a turning point of his life. Devika Rani and Rajnarayan Dube saw young man’s determination to make it big some day. Later on, He became the greatest show man of Hindi Cinema.

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).

Studio FILMOGRAPHY (* also d): 1931: Dena Paona; 1932: Mohabbat Ke Aansoo; Chirakumar Sabha; Chandidas; Subah Ka Sitara; Zinda Lash; Punarjanma; Palli Samaj; 1933: Puran Bhakt; Meerabai/Rajrani? Meera; Kapal Kundala; Mastuto Bhai; 1934: Excuse Me, Sir; Rooplekha/Mohabbat? Ki Kasauti; Chandidas; Daku Mansoor; Pear Brothers* (Sh); 1935: Devdas; Dhoop Chhaon/Bhagya? Chakra; Inquilab; 1936: Karodpati; Grihadah/Manzil?; Maya; 1937: Barababu; Anath Ashram; Didi/President?; Bidyapati/Vidyapati?; 1938: Abhigyan/ Abhagin; Street Singer/Saathi?; 1939: Sapurey/Sapera?; Jawani Ki Reet/Parajay?; Rajat Jayanti; 1940: Abhinetri/Haar? Jeet; 1941: Parichay/Lagan?; Pratisruti; 1942: Nari; Saugandh; 1943: Daabi; Wapas; 1944: Udayer Pathey/Hamrahi?; 1945: Vasiyatnama; 1946: Biraj Bou; 1948: Anjangarh; 1949: Bishnupriya; Mantramughda; Swami/Swami? Vivekananda; 1950: Bara Bou; Pehla Admi; 1951: Sparshamani; Paritran; 1952: Maa; 1953: Dard-e-Dil; Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; 1955: Amar Saigal; 1957: Neelachaley Mahaprabhu; 1959: Sagar Sangamey; 1960: Natun Fasal.