First Indian ‘talkie’ turns 80

MUMBAI: March 14, 2011 was a special day for Indian cinema as it marks the 80th anniversary of ‘Alam Ara’ – the first Indian talkie.

On this day in 1931, ‘Alam Ara’ debuted at the Majestic cinema in Mumbai causing such a stampede that police control had to be called for. ‘Alam Ara’ also featured the first song of Indian cinema -’De De Khuda Ke Naam Par’- sung by actor Wazir Mohammed Khan himself.

Directed by Ardeshir Irani, it is a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl. The sad part though is that as a result of a fire which took place at National Film Archive of India at Pune in 2003, the last surviving print of ‘Alam Ara’ was destroyed and the film is no longer available in its original format.

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