Changes between Initial Version and Version 1 of New Theatres

Jun 28, 2012, 3:56:45 PM (8 years ago)



  • New Theatres

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     1'''New Theatres''' 
     4Main Bengali studio and one of the élite 
     5banners in pre-Independence Indian cinema. 
     6Set up by Birendra Nath Sircar (1901-80) in 
     71931 as a sound studio in Tollygunge, Calcutta, 
     8following on from Sircar’s silent International 
     9Filmcraft (Est: 1930 in association with Charu 
     10Roy and Prafulla Roy). New Theatres acquired 
     11Tanar equipment and the services of Wilford 
     12Deming, a Hollywood sound technician 
     13imported by Ardeshir Irani. The studio 
     14attracted major technical and creative talent 
     15from several smaller silent studios then on the 
     16verge of collapse: Indian Kinema provided 
     17Nitin Bose, the writer, scenarist and filmmaker 
     18Premankur Atorthy, the stars 
     19Durgadas Bannerjee, Amar Mullick, Jiban 
     20Ganguly, etc.; from Barua Pics came P.C. 
     21Barua himself and Sushil Majumdar; British 
     22Dominion Films supplied Dhiren Ganguly. 
     23Sircar aimed for a cinematic equivalent of 
     24literature: ‘Immediately after the establishment 
     25of New Theatres, the first film I made was 
     26Saratchandra [Chatterjee]’s Dena Paona (1931). 
     27The first director of New Theatres was 
     28Premankur Atorthy, the famed litterateur. The 
     29film was not a success. Yet, I could perceive 
     30that following the path of literature would lead 
     31to the discovery of the right path. Seven 
     32subsequent films met with the same fate but 
     33each film pointed to the ultimate way’ (1961, in 
     34Jha, 1990). This formula had been launched at 
     35Madan Theatres when they purchased 
     36exclusive film rights to all of Bankimchandra 
     37Chatterjee’s prose and was followed by New 
     38Theatres, leading to such cinematic oddities as 
     39the big-budget Natir Puja (1932), credited 
     40with Rabindranath Tagore’s direction. New 
     41Theatres then opted for a more melodramatic 
     42mode with Debaki Bose’s Chandidas (1932). 
     43The most famous New Theatres productions 
     44were the P.C. Barua and Nitin Bose films and its 
     45major star was K.L. Saigal. The studio had 
     46many directors on its payroll (most studios 
     47managed with one in-house director, using Bfilms 
     48made by assistants or other employees to 
     49keep the production flow going) and invested 
     50massively in technological innovation (e.g. the 
     51work of sound recordist Mukul Bose). The 
     52decline of the studio is usually linked to the 
     53resignation in 1941 of Nitin Bose, one of their 
     54top directors and head of the technical units. Its 
     55fall is also connected with the rise of the 
     56Western and Southern Indian markets during 
     57and immediately after WW2, as the studio had 
     58never established its own outlets and was 
     59increasingly at the mercy of professional 
     60distributors charging crippling commissions. 
     61There are several accounts of the studio’s 
     62outright sale of film rights to groups like the 
     63Kapurchands, often at a loss. In 1944 Bimal 
     64Roy made an influential debut (Udayer 
     65Pathey) initiating a trend mainly realised in 
     66Bombay (e.g. Hrishikesh Mukherjee). The 
     67studio finally closed in 1955, although Sircar 
     68remained closely involved with film industry 
     69organisations, being on the board of the FFC 
     70for some years.