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Madan Theatre Company, also known as Madan Theatres Limited or in short, Madan Theatres was a film production company founded by Jamshedji Framji Madan, one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema.

Madan, a young Parsi businessman, who had experience in Theatre shows from an early age, stepped into entertainment business in 1902, when he started bioscope shows of imported cinemas a tent in Maidan, Calcutta. Later, such shows were exhibited in Corinthian Theatre, which was already popular for Parsi Theatre shows. Madan also created the Elphinstone Bioscope Company, which produced a number of short films.[1]

After the World War I, Madan's business started growing rapidly. In 1919, his film production business became a joint stock company with the name of Madan Theatres Limited. Madan Theatres and its associates had a great control over theatre houses in India those days. In 1919, Madan Theatres produced the first Bengali feature film Billwamangal. It was first screened in Cornwallis Theatre (now known as Sree Cinema).

Madan hired a number of foreign directors. Eugenio De Liguoro directed Nala Damayanti (1920) and Dhruva Charitra (1921), Camille Le Grand directed Ratnavali (1922) and Georgio Mannini directed Savitri Satyavan (1923). Patience Cooper, one of the early stars of Indian Cinema, acted in many of the movies produced by Madan Theatres.

Madan Theatres produced films like Bishabriksha (1922 and 1928), Durgesh Nandini (1927) and Radharani (1930) based on Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's works. Giribala (1929) was based on Rabindranath Tagore's work.

J J Madan, third son of J F Madan, became managing director of Madan Theatres after JF's death in 1923. Madan Theatres reached a peak in late 1920s when it owned 127 theatres and controlled half of the country's box office.[2] Madan Theatres produced a number of popular and landmark films till 1937. First Bengali talkie, Jamai Shashthi was made by Madan Theatres and released on 11 April 1931.[3] Indrasabha (1932) was a very special musical made by Madan Theatres. This movie had nearly 70 songs.

References

  1. ^ Elphinstone Bioscope
  2. ^ p 520, The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies, John H Downing et al., SAGE, 2004, ISBN 0761921699
  3. ^ IMDB page on Jamai Sasthi

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