wiki:Kohinoor Film Company

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Kohinoor Film Company

Est: 1919. India’s largest and most influential silent studio. Preceded by S.N. Patankar’s Patankar Friends & Co., where Kohinoor proprietor D.N. Sampat (1884-1958) entered film production, and followed by the Krishna, Sharda and Imperial Studios, it was until 1928 the place where Indian cinema turned professional. Launched in partnership with Maneklal Patel, then an Ahmedabad exhibitor, some of the studio’s first films were documentaries informed mainly by Sampat’s Gandhian adherences, e.g. the film of the Ali brothers’ arrival (1920) and Horniman’s return to Bombay after release from prison (1925). Also known in this period for topicals and newsreels, incl. e.g. Bodhgaya-Benares, Taj Mahal and St. Xavier’s Exposition. Early Kanjibhai Rathod films were restricted to Bombay and Western Indian exhibition outlets but the studio made a national impact in the wake of the notoriety generated by the banning of the nationalist Bhakta Vidur (1921), followed by the success of Gul-e- Bakavali and Kala Naag (both 1924), all aimed at a pan-Indian audience. The big breakthrough was the appointment of independent distribution agents, Bachubhai Bhagubhai, who bought rights to all their films. By 1925 the studio’s monthly booking revenue exceeded Rs 50,000. The idea of the Hollywood-style film factory with several simultaneous productions, of story sessions and the building of star careers, transformed the production practices of the till then Phalke-dominated notion of a studio as a family-based cottage industry. Early cameramen incl. V.B. Joshi and D.D. Dabke. Although Kohinoor’s surviving publicity pamphlets indicate only one overdetermining authorial presence, writer Mohanlal Dave (until Manilal Joshi shifted the practice by writing his own screenplays and giving a full list of credits, even the actors were rarely mentioned and almost never the director), it was nevertheless the place where the star system was born with Moti and Jamna and where the silent cinema’s most successful filmmaker, Homi Master, did his best-known films. Tara, Khalil, Raja Sandow and Zubeida started there, as did Sulochana in Bhavnani’s Veer Bala (1925). Other major Kohinoor figures include Chimanlal Luhar, Harshadrai Mehta, cameraman Pandurang Naik, Gohar, V.M. Vyas, Haribhai Desai (later of Surya Film) and Ranjit proprietor Chandulal Shah. Virtually the entire Imperial stable of directors, including R.S. Choudhury, Bhavnani, Nandlal Jaswantlal and R.N. Vaidya came from Kohinoor. After a fire virtually destroyed the studio in 1923, Maneklal Patel pulled out to start Krishna, and after 1928 Devare was mostly responsible for the studio’s new incarnation as the employee-run co-operative venture Kohinoor United Artists. A key figure in the studio’s later years was cameramandirector N.G. Devare. It closed in 1932.