Thursday, 15 March 2018


- Manoj Kulkarni

Zubeida & Master Vithal in 'Imperial Movietone's Ardeshir Irani's 'Alam Ara' (1931).

Ardeshir Irani recording sound of 'Alam Ara' (1931).
The first Indian talkie film made by 'Imperial Movietone's Ardeshir Irani 'ALAM ARA' released on 14th March, 1931 at 'Majestic Cinema' Mumbai..and now it completed 87 years!
Prithviraj Kapoor & Jillo in 'Alam Ara' (1931).

Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Irani was one of the most important pioneers of our Indian Cinema! Earlier he directed 8 silent films..mostly mythological ('Veer Abhimanyu'/1922) and historical ('Shahjehan/1924). 

In 1931 he made our India's first talkie film 'Alam Ara'! For this he handled the sound recording by using the Tanar Sound system. It was shot with the Tanar single-system camera which recorded sound directly on to the film!

'Alam Ara' was a love story between a prince & a gypsy girl, which was based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David and Munshi Zapper in Urdu!
Master Vithal & Zubeida in romantic scene of 'Alam Ara' (1931).

It cinematographed by Wilford Deming & Adi M. Irani and edited by Ezra Mir!..And the lead artists in our first talkie were Master Vithal, Zubeida, Jilloo, Sushila & Prithviraj Kapoor!
Wazir Mohammed Khan singing in 'Alam Ara' (1931).

It had music by Ferozshah M. Mistri & B. Irani...and total 7 songs were there..from which "De de khuda ke naam.." was the first song of Indian cinema..which was sung by Wazir Mohammed Khan who played fakir in it! Artists Zubeida & Jilloo also sung!

This our first talkie was successful and its music was hit! Unfortunately the film has long been lost and not available but I have seen the documentary made on 'Alam Ara' in the programme 'Celebrating 75 years of Indian Talkie' held at Mumbai decade ago!
Ardeshir Irani checking print of 'Alam Ara' (1931).

And glad to note that..the inaugural special issue of my film magazine 'Chitrasrushti' was on '75 Years of World Talkie' published in 2002!

Salute to master of Indian Talkie..Irani sahab!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
  [Pune, India]

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