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The Hidden Gem, Alam Ara, The First Talkie Movie

The Hidden Gem, Alam Ara, The First Talkie Movie

Alam Ara

The first talkie movie of India, Alam Ara, was directed by Ardeshir Irani. He was inspired by an American film, Showboat (1929). Straight from the idea to its execution, Alam Ara had a journey of its own. It took hundreds of days to be produced due to the hazards of sound recordings under vulnerable conditions. Irani was also cautious of the fact, he was unwilling to disclose about a talkie and singing film that was under production. This was his ambitious secret.

Alam Ara, released in 1931, went on to be one of the most successful ventures of the decade. The movie was houseful for the next 8 weeks after its premiere!

The Story 

  • Alam Ara (trans.: the ornament of the world) is a fantasy drama: a love story between a king and her two rival queens, Navbahar and Dilbahar.
  • The story is based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David. He later went on to be a writer for the movies of Irani.
Alam Ara

via cinestaan

  • Set on an imaginary, historical royal family in the village of Kumarpur. Lives of queens stirred-up when a fakir predicts that the heir of the kingdom will be born from the womb of Navbahar. This makes Dilbahar jealous.
  • Dilbahar indulges in an affair with the army-chief. Things go rusty between the couple, leading Dilbahar to imprison him. She also banishes the daughter named Alam Ara. 
  • She is raised by nomads. On returning to the palace, she falls in love with the prince. Dilbahar is punished for her deeds, the army chief is released. The couple marries each other in the climax.
Alam Ara

via cinestaan

Know About The Father of Indian Talkies

  • Born in a Parsi family, Irani was a school teacher. Before that, he went to J.J. School of Arts, Bombay.
  • Soon, Irani realized he was meant for something revolutionary. His love for films intensified. Later, he went on to serve as the Indian representative of Universal Studios.  
  • He exhibited and produced foreign films in India. He unfolded the fact that the Indian Film Industry’s rapidly growing popularity can be cashed upon.
  • This gave rise to his very first venture, Veer Abhimanyu (1922). Irani was self-reliant when it came to filmmaking. 
  • He was exceptionally talented in knowing the art of film production. But, soon, he prepared himself to be a cinematographer too.
Alam Ara

via twitter

  • When he saw a Hollywood talkie, he envisioned his mind to produce the First Talkie Movie of India. 
  • To learn more about sound recording and its technique, Irani took off for London. 
  • Alam Ara was premiered in Mumbai on 14 March 1931.
Alam Ara

via news18

The Making of India’s First Talkie: Alam Ara

  • The Film Studio in Mumbai ignored the presence of railway tracks nearby, which later led to a massive toll.
  • The absence of soundproof rooms made the crew shoot the film at nights when the trains discontinued functioning. 
  • Large microphones had to be placed under the costumes of actors.
Alam Ara

via flickr

  • The instrumentalists (Tabla and Harmonium performers) were made to hide behind trees so that invisible music support could exist.
  • Alam Ara was made at a whopping budget of Rs 40,000. 
  • The Film had seven songs, including De De Khuda Ke Naam Par, which attained the reputation of the first playback music/song of the country. 
  • The film was advertised with the tagline: “All living. Breathing. 100 per cent talking” and “78 murde insaan zinda ho gaye. Unko Bolte Dekho.”

Did You Know?

  • Ardeshir Irani was an accidental producer. His filmmaking journey started with winning a lottery ticket worth Rs 14,000. 
  • After making the first talkie movie, Irani was also responsible for producing the first Indian Film in English Noor Jahan and the First Coloured movie Kisan Kanya.

via theprint

  • Irani initially wanted to cast Mehboob Khan in the Film. Later Marathi stunt star, Master Vithal, was roped in. 
  • The cast included the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor in the role of villain.
alam ara

via pinteret

According to the National Film Archive of India, the sole prints of Alam Ara have been destroyed. 

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

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