The first voice of Indian Cinema - Alam Ara

By - May 07, 2013 - 12:27 PM IST

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On March 14th, 1931 at Majestic Cinema in Mumbai, people went crazy over a film and cops were called to control the heavy crowd. Why wouldn’t they? For it was the first Sound Film of Indian Cinema. Alam Ara, as we know it was the first talkie of Indian cinema, directed by Ardeshir Irani.

Love stories are all time favorites and Alam Ara was no exception. It’s a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl, based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David.

Besides being the first talkie, Alam Ara is also credited for having the first song of Indian Cinema, ‘Dil de khuda ke naam par’, sung by Wazir Mohammed Khan. It was recorded live as there was no playback then. Ardeshir Irani was a visionary director who realized the immense magnitude that sound would have on cinema. This period film was mostly shot at night to avoid modern daytime ambient sounds, which makes Alam Ara the first film to have used studio lights. Hidden microphones were used to record the voices of the actors. Eminent film personalities like Prithviraj Kapoor and LV Prasad, got in touch through this film, who later were awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (Kapoor in 1972 and Prasad in 1982) for their immense contribution to Indian cinema. Unfortunately the last known print of this film was destroyed in a fire at the National Archives of India, in Pune, in 2003.

Cast and Crew details

Director: Ardeshir Irani

Producer: Imperial movie tone

Writers: Joseph David, Munshi Zaheer (Urdu)

Cast: Master Vithal, Zubeida, Jillo, J Sushila, Prithviraj Kapoor

Music: Ferozshah M Mistri, B Irani

Cinematography: Wilford Deming, Adi M. Irani

Editing: Ezra Mir

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