Since 1999

I discovered the Mother of all discussion groups RMIM on Indian films and music in early 1995. After lurking (viewing posts quietly) for a few months, I noticed that these 'kids' (the most active ones were in the 20s, I was about 50) did not talk much about the 30s and 40s. So I decide to write a series of posts on Hindi films. This was the first one published on July 10, 1995.

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A Year in Hindi Movies 1931

The year 1931 will be remembered for the year in which the first Hindi talkie was released. The movie was AALAM AARA with the following "P-stats":

Producer: Imperial Movietone, Bombay Director: Ardeshir M. Irani Music: Pirojshah Mistry Lyricist: unknown Screenplay: A. M. Irani Dialogs: Joseph David

 The main actors were

  1. Master Vitthal as hero,
  2. Zubeida as Aalam Aara, the heroine,
  3. Zilloo,
  4. Prithviraj Kapoor as the villain,
  5. W. M. Khan as the singing faqeer,
  6. Jagdish Sethi (the bad guy in "Phir Subah Hogi," with a typical

Panjabi accent, who bothers Mala Sinha ). Some day, when I have time, I will post the story of the movie! The movie had seven songs and ran for seven weeks. The very first song in the movie was the very first song in any Hindi movie. The whole song is,

"de de khudaa ke naam pyaare taaqat ho gar dene ki, kuchh chaahe agar to maang le mujhse himmat ho gar lene ki."

It was sung by Mr. W. Z. Khan, the first singer of a Hindi movie song. The movie was released on March 14, 1931 in Majestic cinema, Bombay.

A total of 24 talkies were released in 1931, with names like

"Devi Devyaani", "Draupadi", "Harishchandra",

"Heer Ranjha" (which has music by Master Ali Baksh, father of Meena Kumari),

two "Laila Majnu's",

"Romantic Prince" (in which Mehboob was one of the actors),

two "Shakuntalaa's", the Calcutta version having the largest number of songs, 42, so far,

"Sheereen Farhaad" (the second Hindi talkie, released on May 31, along which the audience was treated to the first comedy short film in Gujaraati, "Mumbayi Ni Shethaani"),

"Noorjahaan", a histotical, which was the first Indian film in English,

"Third wife" and

"Trapped" (which had Durga Khote who sang three songs, really sang, not mouthed).

Seventeen of these movies were produced in Bombay (or should I type Mumbai, smiley,) and seven in Calcutta by one producer, Madan theaters.

NOTE: The above info comes from

1. the Encyclopaedia, volume 1, compiled by Mr. Har Mandir Singh "Hamraaz", published by Mrs. Satinder Kaur, his wife,

2. Listeners' Bulletin, a monthly, edited by Hamraaz Saahib and published by the Secretary, the Flying Listener's Club, Kanpur, and

3. Limca Book of Records, 1993 edition, edited by Vijaya Ghose, published by Bisleri Beverages Limited.

Surjit Singh, a movie fan period.

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Now You Know!


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