Saturday, November 30, 2013


Himanshu Rai  Or ( Himanshu Roy) is remembered as a highly educated person who made impulses in the society by producing historical and social theme films in the early days of Indian Cinema in both silent era and in talkies.
He could establish a studio 'Bombay Talkies' in the year 1934 with the help of his friends.
His wife was actress Devika Rani Chaudhari.
Actor Ashok Kumar was his brother-in-law.
'Shiraz' was 1928 film with   the story of potter's son who designed Taj Mahal.

Prem Sanyas, (The Light of Asia) was directed by  Fosten and Himanshu Rai together   and most of the technicians involved in the production of this film  were Germans.It was based on the life of Gautama Buddha.Himanshu Rai and Seetha Devi acted in main roles.It received a cold response in India but was a big success abroad.

Devika Rani
In the film 'Prapancha Pash'(A Throw of Dice) which was produced in 1926, Himanshu Rai and Seetha Devi acted  as the main pair.It was a big budget venture which was made with the effort of  several thousand extras and used  wild animals like elephants and tigers  etc  and the film   was  a success.
In the 1933 film 'Karma' the kissing scene of Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani in those days was a  controversial subject of debate.
He wrote script for 'Achhut Kanya'(Un touchable Girl)  which was released  in 1936 which produced much repulses in the society.The film was a big hit.
'Jeevan Naiya' was Ashok Kumar's debut film
'Jawani ki Hawa' was a successful film in which Devika Rani was the heroine.
In 1939 'film 'Kangan' was made in which he introduced 'Leela Chitnis'.
As a producer his films are
Shiraz 1928
Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani
Prapancha Pash 29
Karma 33
Jawani ki Hawa 35
Jeevan Neiya  36
Achhut Kanya 36
Janma Bhoomi  36
Savitri 37
Jeevan Prabhat 37
Izzat 37
Kangan 39

As an Actor his films are 
Prem Sanyas
Prapancha Pash

He was writer of 'Achhut Kanya'  and Director of Prem Sanyas with  Fosten.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Sohrab Modi was one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema who possessed diversified talents and worked as stage and Film Actor,Director and Producer.
He was born in the year  1897 in an Indian Parsi family of Bombay and after his studies joined as a travelling exhibitor with his brother Kaki Modi at Gwalior.
Modi later entered film field as a Director and Producer and  made  several excellent films.Some of his films which earned wide acclaim are 'Sikandar,Pukar,Sheesh Mahal,Farz,Raj Hath,Jhansi Ki Rani,Pritvi Vallabh,Mohabbat,Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari,Razia Sultan' etc.
His first two films 'Khoon Ka Khoon'(1935) and 'Saed-e-Havas'(1936) were filmed versions of  plays.
He launched Minerva Movietone in 1936 and started to make social issues films and historical films which received mass attention and admiration.
'Meetha Zaher' and 'Talaq'  were social issue films made in 1938 and in 1939 he made 'Pukar' which dealt with Mughal Emperor Jahangir's legendary justice theme film.It was produced and directed by Sohrab Modi and he acted in it.
'Pritvi Vallabh' was historical film based on K.M.Munshi's novel.
'Durga Khote' acted as the heroine of 'Queen Mrinalvati'.His films 'Jailor' and 'Bharosa' also received good opinion.
'Sikandar' which he produced and directed in 1941 was a big budget film and he took much pain for its perfection.The costumes and set requirements were of B.C. 300's and the efforts of large number of crew members were also  required.
He acted in that film  as Indian King 'Puru'(porus) who defended 'Alexander the Great'(Sikander).The role of Sikandar

 was played by Pritvi Raj Kapoor.
'Jhansi Ki Rani' was India's first techni colour film for which technicians arrived from abroad to help him.The film earned mass appeal.
'Mirza Ghalib' was also a superb film which won President's Gold Medal as 
Best feature film of 1954.
Sobrab Modi received 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award' from Government of India in 1980.
He died on 28 January 1984.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


P.K.Raja Sandow whose original name was P.K.Nagalingam , an actor from Tamil Nadu became very popular during the silent era throughout India and he was successful in sound films as well.He is considered as one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema.
He was a brilliant Actor,Director,Script Writer and Producer.
He was born at Puthukottai,Tamil Nadu in the year 1894.He was called 'Sandow' because of his good physique and abilities to perform stunt scenes.
He started his acting career at  National Film Co. Bombay and rose to fame by acting in hit silent  films like 'Veer Bhimsen,Telephone Girl,Sneh Jyothi,Indra Sabha,Razia Begum' etc.
He paired with heroines Sulochana,Gohar etc at that period.

He returned to Madras,Tamil Nadu and acted in films like Payum  Penn,Nandhanar,Anadhai Penn,Pride of Hindustan,Sati Usha Sundari' etc.
He went back to Bombay when production of  sound films were started and acted in several films.Films like 'Shyam Sunder,Devaki,Indira M.A.' etc are some of the successful films of that period.
In 1935 he directed his first movie 'Menaka'.
He returned to Madras and directed films and acted in many of them too.
'Vasanthasena,Chalak Chor,Chandrakantha,Vishnuleela,Thiruneelakantar,Choodamani,' etc are some of the films which he directed and starred.
Raja Sandow died of a massive heart attack in 1943 while he was at Coimbatore.
At that period he was directing a film 'Sivakavi' 
Selected Filmography
Bhakta Bodhana 1922
Karna 22
Razia Begum 1924
The divine punishment  25
Devadasi 25
Indrasabha 25
Kalachor 1925
Rajayogi 25
Vr Kunal 25
Mumtaz Mahal 1926
Telephone Girl 26
Typist Girl 26
Sneha Jyothi 28
Young India 29
Payum Penn (Director/Actor)
Srivally Thirumanam 1930 Director
Anadhai Penn 30 Director
Pride of Hindustan (Actor/Director 31
Sati Usha Sundari 31 Director
Rajeswari 31 Director
Dhruvanin Garvabhangam 31 Director
Parijatha Pushpaharanam-Tamil -Director
Syam Sundar -Hindi -Actor 32
Kashmeera-Hindi-Actor 34
Devaki-Hindi-Director 34
Noor-e-Iman Hindi-33
Pardesi Preetam-Hindi
Toofani Taruni-Hindi 34
Indira MA-34
Raat Ki Rani-Actor/Director 35
Menaka -Tamil-Director
Vasant Sena-Tamil-Actor/Director 36
Chalak Chor -Hindi- Actor'Director 36
Chandrakantha-Tamil-Script writer/Director 36
Dil Ka Daku -Actor 1936
Toofani Tarzan-Actor 37
Minor Rajamani-Tamil-Director 37
Nandhanar -Tamil-Actor 38
Vishnu Leela-Tamil-Actor/Director 1938
Thiruneelakantar-Tamil-Actor 39
Choodamani-Telugu-Director 41


Charu Roy was an accomplished actor and Director who became tremendously popular as the hero of the gigantic, super hit silent movie 'Prapancha Pash'(A Throw of Dice) which was made by Himanshu Rai.
It was shot in locations at Rajastan, and during those days itself it was made on a large scale by spending huge amount and  utilizing 1000 cast members, and 10000 extras.1000 horses and large number of elephants,camels, trained tigers etc were used for its production.He acted as King Ranjit in that film and the heroine was Seetha Devi.
Charu Roy was born on Sep.6, 1890 at Brahmapur, Orissa.
He acted in many films which he directed.
As an actor his appearance as Emperor Shahjahan  in the film 'Shiraz' was also very much appreciated.
As a Director his films are
Pathik (1931)
Graher Pher(32)
Daku Ka Ladka
Raj Nati Basantsena
Loves of a Mughal Prince

He acted in 'Shiraz,A Throw of Dice,Sarala,Pathik,Graher Pher,Bengalee,Manorama' etc
He died in Calcutta at the age of 81, in the year  1971.


Sisir Bhaduri(2 Oct 1889-30 June 1959) was popular as S.K.Bhaduri and he was a stage actor and theatre founder.He was a successful film  actor and Film Director during silent era and in sound films also.

He directed

Mohini (Triumph of Fate) in 1921,
Kamala Kamini(Maid of the Lotus) in 1922
Baror Bazar(Marriage Market) in 1922
Andhere Alo(The influence of Love) in 1922
Bicharak(The Judge) in 1929
Pallisamaj    in  1932
Seeta           in 1933
Chanakya     in  1939

He acted in the  main  roles of his films  'Chanakya,Seeta (As Ram), Pallisamaj,Bicharak,Andhere Alo,Kamala Kamini  and  Mohini'.


Gohar Kayoum Mamajiwala  was famous as Miss.Gohar and was born in 1910.
She rose to the heights of a heroine very soon and ultimately became a film producer and studio owner also.She was also capable of singing songs for her films.
She joined films at the age of 16  to assist her family financially and her debut film was 'Fortune and the Fools' in the year 1925. 
She was successful as an actress in films like 'Mumtaz Mahal,Typist Girl,Thief of Delhi,Grihalakshmi,Beggar Girl,Chandramukhi,Gun Sundari,Rajputani,Raj Ramani,Prabhu ka pyara,Usha Haran, which were all memorable films.
She started Shree Sound Studios with the participation of Jagdish Pasha,Raja Sandow and some others.
In 1929 with Chandulal Shah she found Ranjit Studios which later became 'Ranjit Movietone'.
She lastly acted in the year 1940 for the film 'Usha Haran.
Gohar Mamajiwala died on 28 Sept.1985.


As an actor Firoz Bezanji Dastur was popular as Firoz Dastur and music lovers called him Pandit Firoz Dastur.

He was the doyen of the 'Kirana Gharana' style of classical  music and had the singing career for more than six decades.
He was born on Sept.30, 1919 in a Parsi family.He was the disciple of the famous musician 'Sawai Gandharva' whose other famous disciples include 
Bhimsen Joshi.
He was trained in  Hindustani classical music by  some other great teachers
At  the age of 15 he acted  as a child actor and sang four songs for the film 
'Lal-e-Yemen' which became a super hit film that ran in packed houses for many weeks all over India.Later he sang songs and acted in several films.His films 'Bag-e-Misar(34),Vaman Avtar(1934),Kala Gulab(33),Khun-e-Nahaq(35),Sunhera Bal(38),Gul-e-Bakawali' etc earned much appreciation as a performer and singer.
In 1969 he joined the University of Bombay's music department as a professor of Hindustani Music and served in that capacity for several years.
He died on May 9, 2008.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


She was one of the  earlier Indian film star, who was famous as Jahan Ara Kajjan, or Miss Kajjan.She was a regular dancer at Calcutta club and rose to fame as an actress/singer in films.
She became famous as the 'Lark of Indian Cinema' because of her sweet voice.She was trained in classical music and rendered songs in many films.
She was well versed in Urdu,Hindi, and English and used to publish her Urdu  poems in magazines.
Her debut film was 'Shirin Farhad' of Madan theatres in 1931.
She earned accolades,wide appreciation, name and fame for her performance and the songs she rendered for the film 'Indra Sabha' in 1932.
Film 'Indra Sabha' still holds the world record as 'Film with Most Number of Songs'.
The movie with a duration of three and a half hours(it was 211 minutes duration) which was made by Madan theatres had 71 songs.
Several of the songs were rendered by Jahan Ara Kajjan.
Jahan Ara Kajjan,Master Nissar,Mukhtar Begum etc rendered songs in it.
The cast included Abdul Rehman Kabuli,Mukhtar Begum,Master Nissar and Jahar Ara Kajjan.
The film was based on a play written by Sayed Aga Hasan Amanat.It is about the moral character of a King being  tested by celestial powers with the aid of a fairy(Apsara).
'Gujru Zarina' was a fantasy film directed by J.J.Madan in 1932.Kajjan,Nissar,A.R.Kabuli,S.Kerawala etc were the cast.
Her films 'Swami Bhakti,Shakuntala,Alibaba aur 40 Chor,Laila Majnu,Jahan Ara' etc were also box office hits before 1940.
During 40-44 her memorable films are 'Ghar Sansar,Abla ki Shakti,Pritvi Vallabh, and Bharthari'.
Bharthari(1944) included her most

 lovely classical songs which received much critical acclamation.The music of that film was handled by Khemchand Prakash.
Ghar Sansar was a hit film which dealt with a social theme and was directed by V.M.Vyas.
She passed away in 1945.

Mukhtar Begum who was born in Amritsar,Punjab  was one of the earlier stars  in Indian Cinema during 30's and  early 40's who was also an accomplished singer.She sang songs in the films which she acted  and in many more.
She was music composer for two films in which she acted and rendered songs.
They are 'Prem Ki Aag'(1936) and Bhesham(1937)
In the film 'Alibaba aur 40 chor(1932) directed by J.J.Madan, she acted with Jahan Ara Kajjan,Nawab,Patience Cooper etc
In the film 'Chatra Bekawali(1932) she acted with Jahan Ara Kajjan
In the film 'Krishna Kant Ki Wasiyat(32) she acted with Jahan Ara Kajjan,Nissar,Abdul Rehman Kabuli.
Her film 'Indra Sabha' became a super hit and earned her much fame as an actress and singer.
The film 'Nala Damayanti' which was directed by Agha Hashar Kashmiri was also a super hit.
In the film 'Ramayan' (1934) and also in  Seeta(34) she acted with Pritviraj Kapoor.
Some of her other memorable films were 'Shravan Kumar,Ankh ka Nasha,Aurat Ka Pyar,Muflis Ashiq' etc.  

Monday, November 25, 2013


Seetha Devi (1912-1983)was a beautiful actress of the silent era whose original name was Renee Smith.She belonged to the Anglo Indian Community.
She entered the film industry in 1925 by acting in the film 'Prem Sanyas' which was Himanshu Rai's film.It's English title 'The Light of Asia' was more popular.
Seetha Devi was liked by the audience by her debut film itself and she rose to stardom very soon.
She was offered roles in films of Madan pictures also and appeared in movies regularly.
In 1929 a film 'Prapancha Pash'  became a super hit  successful  film in which Charu Roy and Seetha Devi acted as the main pair.
This gigantic silent film was shot in locations of Rajastan utilizing more than 1000 cast members and 10000 extras as well as thousands of horses,camels,elephants, several trained tigers etc. Its English title 'A Throw of Dice' was more popular.It was a story taken from the epic 'Mahabharatha'.
Her historical film 'Shiraz' was also a huge hit.
Films 'Durgesh Nandini', 'Kapal Kundala' etc earned wide acclaim.
In 'Kapal Kundala' Patience Cooper also acted along with her and the hero was Prabhodh Bose.
In the film 'Krishna Sakha(1927) which was directed by Amrit Bose, Patience Cooper also acted with Seetha Devi.Patience Cooper and Sita Devi again acted together in 'Bhrantri(English title-Mistake)

Some critics believes that Renee

Smith and her sister Percy Smith alternatively appeared in films as 'Seetha Devi'.
Selected Filmography
Prem Sanyas
Krishna Sakha
Durgesh Nandini
Loves of Moghul Prince
Kapal Kundala
Prapancha Pash
Bharat Ramani
Kal Parinaya


Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, better known as Dadasaheb Phalke is famous as the Father of Indian Cinema.He was the producer/director of 95 feature films.
Dadasaheb Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Tryambakeshwar, near Nasik,Maharashtra.After schooling he joined 'Kala Bhavan' Baroda, from where he got training in Photography,Painting,Sculpture,Engineering,drawing etc.
When Phalke watched a film 'Life of Christ' in 1910 he felt very much impressed about the new media   and started to think seriously about making movies.He gathered data about the techniques and equipments required for film production.He travelled to England and made arrangements for the shipment of the movie camera and  instruments to India.
He gave adequate training of loading the film in the movie camera and film  processing etc to his wife also.
Dadasaheb Phalke wanted to make stories from Hindu mythology since it would be familiar to most of the audience and  the elaborate sets,costumes,
and fantasy scenes would be appealing to the audience.
As the first movie he planned to produce 'Raja Harishchandra', the story of a King  who stood firmly for the sake of truth.
To convince financiers about the new medium, as well as his capability to make movies, he made a short film 'The birth of a pea plant' and exhibited it  to them.They felt confident about Phalke's abilities and  readily agreed to finance the project.
At that period it took more than six months to finish the film.Dadasaheb Phalke had instructed his cast and  crew members to keep about the film making a secret and so more than 500 people who worked on the project said to others that they work  in a  Harishchandra's factory.
During the initial period getting female artists to act in films   was also a big  problem and in his first film the role of 'Maharani Taramati' was portrayed by a male actor 'Anna Salunke'.
'Raja Harishchandra' was released in 1913 and it was a big success.It got recognition as the first full length feature film of India.
Dadasaheb Phalke approached the film field with full dedication.Many of his movies were virtually a feast for the audience.He did not hesitate to initiate his  daughter Mandakini to  act as 'Krishna' in 'Kalia Mardan' of 1919.
Altogether he made 95 feature films and 26 short films in his career.
He formed a film company 'Hindustan Films' in partnership with five business men of Mumbai  but after a few years  later withdrew from it.
His last film was 'Gangavataran' in 1937.
Dadasaheb Phalke passed away  on 15 Feb. 1944.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is the highest Cinema award in India is instituted in his honour by the Government of India.

Scene from 'Raja Harishchandra'

A scene from 'Lanka Dahan'

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Esther Victoria Abraham, who was popularly known by her screen name 'Prameela' was a  beautiful bold girl who  became successful as an actress  and a film producer.   She belonged to the Jewish Faith and was a member of the Baghdad group of Jews.
She was very much passionate to act on  screen and so at the age of 17 left home to join a theatre company.
She became successful in action roles and shook the screen with her amazing stunt roles and action packed roles  from 1935.
Esther Victoria Abraham became the First Beauty Queen of Independent India by winning Miss India Contest in 1947.
She entered film production also by establishing her own banner as  'Silver Productions'.Under this banner she produced 16 films and became the first major woman Film  producer of India.
Pramila was also a graduate of the University of Cambridge.Some of her memorable films are 'Ulti Ganga,Bijli,Basant, Jungle King, Shahzadi,Bhikarin,Our Daring Daughter,Jhankar  and many more.
She passed away in 2006.


Patience Cooper (1905-1983) was a very popular and successful actress during 20's 30's and 40's who acted in silent era films and also in talkies.She belonged to the Anglo Indian Community.In 1947 she migrated to Pakistan with her husband.
She is credited with the first double roles which are as  twin sisters in 'Patni Pratap'(1923) and mother and daughter in 'Kashmir Sundari'(1924) even though in 1917 'Anna Salunke' acted as Rama and Sita in 'Lanka Dahan".
Patience Cooper rose to fame  by the film 'Nala Damayanti'(1920) in which she acted as Damayanti and actor  'Keki Adajania'  played  as 'Nala'.
Her next film 'Vishnu Avtar' (1921) was also liked by the audience.'Dhruva Charitra'(21) was also a highly acclaimed film in which she portrayed  'Maharani Suniti'- mother of Prince 'Dhruva'.
Her film 'Pati Bhakti' which contained a social message was a super hit film.It was directed by J.J.Madan.Patience Cooper acted in several films made by Madan  theatres.
'Zehari Saap' (33) was also a huge successful  film.Altogether she acted in more than 40 films in her career.
She retired in 1944 after acting in the film 'Iraada'.
Some of her memorable films are 'Noorjehan' which was directed by J.J.Madan,
Pampered Youth(1925)-Director 'J.J.Madan',
'Chandidas' (1927),
 Krishna Sakha'  which was directed by Amrit Bose,
 film 'Bhrantri',
film 'Behula' and film 'Mohini'.

was directed by S.K.Bhaduri and he was the hero in that film.  

Friday, November 22, 2013


DINSHAW BILLIMORIA  who was popularly known  as D.Billimoria was a  great actor of the silent era.He was best known for his action roles of historical and mythological films.Sulochana and Bilimoria had large number of super hit films during 1933-39 period .
His films 'Wild Cat of Bombay' and Anarkali received much accolades.
Dinshaw Billimoria was born at Kirkee,India in 1904 and as the hero of many romantic,action,fantasy movies he got wide admiration.
ANNA SALUNKE was a delicate young man who was working as a cook in a restaurant at Grant Road of Bombay drawing a monthly salary of Rs.10/- while Dada Saheb Phalke was searching for a suitable actress for his proposed first full length  silent film of India, 'Raja Harishchandra' to be released in 1913.Since girls from respected families did not choose acting profession those days, he found it difficult to  get an actress for the role of 'Rani Taramati' as the wife of Raja Harishchandra.
In such a situation Phalke noticed Salunke who would suite  feminine  roles by  make-up and so  persuaded him for the role by offering him a salary of Rs.15/- per month.He agreed and acted in the film as Rani Taramati.
Again in 1917 he portrayed the same role in the remake of 'Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra'.
In 1917 he acted in the first double roles in Indian Cinema for the film 'Lanka Dahan'  by playing the roles of   both Rama and Sita.
He played female roles in two other films 'Satya Narayan'(1922) and Buddhadev(1923).
Up to 1931 he continued the  acting profession  but not in female roles but acted in  various other character roles.He mastered in cinematography and worked as cinematographer for several films also.
MASTER VITHAL acted in many films of silent era from 1924  and he made history as the hero of the  first Indian Talkie 'Alam Ara'.
Master Vithal had a good physique and was able to act nicely and dance skilfully  but his Hindi diction was not up to the mark and the rise of sound films gave him a set back.  He had to satisfy with   Marathi films only because of the language problem.He acted in more than 90 Marathi films in his long  acting career.Master Vithal  died in 1969.


Dattatreya Damodar Dabke, popularly known as D.D.Dabke was a stage actor when he was selected as the protagonist title  role as 'Raja Harishchandra' in the first silent film of India 'Raja Harishchandra' directed by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913.
He continued to act in some more films and later turned to be a Cinematographer and director.
He directed a remake of  'Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra' in 1924.
Kesavarao Daate (1889-1971) was an actor who worked in both silent films and talkies.He worked in Marathi films and Hindi films.
His roles in Marathi films Kunku(1937) and Shejari (1941) received much appreciation.
Later he settled in Mumbai and acted in character roles of several  films made there.
Khalil was a very popular star Of Bollywood and one who gained stardom in the early days of Indian cinema.
He became popular as the hero of Krishna Sudama of 1920.
He was a tall, energetic,handsome and versatile actor who acted in several films like 'Draupadi'.
He acted opposite all heroines of that period like Sulochana.