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The Journey of Bombay Talkies from Himanshu Rai to Megastar Aazaad.


The Bombay Talkies Studios story is full of magic and colour. In the ’30s, the movie business was supposed to be a ‘dirty business’. People would talk about movies, but many wouldn’t even consider going to watch one. This would be similar to people talking about gold prices but seldom buying it. Even though movies did make people curious, its reputation as a professional field was bad. There seemed to be a lack of respect for the profession because it was being considered the domain of undesirable sections of the then Indian society. Due to this lack of respect and understanding for the profession, financiers during those times would face an impossible challenge when it came to getting returns on their investment.

It was during this hunt for financiers that Himanshu Rai came in contact with Abhimanyu Prasad Singh, a close friend of Seth Badriprasad Dube, who was a well-known financier. He introduced Himanshu Rai, a London return actor/ theatre artist to Seth Badriprasad Dube with a dream of making a cinema company but Seth Badriprasad declined the proposal of funding Himanshu Rai because Seth Badriprasad had once financed the first Indian Talkie film Alam Ara which don't earn him any profit and he made an opinion that only actors and directors get fame but the financier doesn’t get profits. During that era, the film business was not considered as money earning business. It was more about the passion for cinema and getting fame. Because of this fact, Seth Badriprasad Dube declined the proposal of financing Himanshu Rai.

Abhimanyu Singh spoke next to Seth Badriprasad’s son Shri. Rajnarayan Dube. He was a young and dynamic businessman who operated a successful company called Dube Industries, which he had founded in 1929. Shri. Dube was born on 10th October 1910 at Kalighat in Kolkata and was an ardent devotee of Maa Kali. He was influenced by the power of art and creativity at a young age. Both men met at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba, Mumbai (Bombay) and discussed an initial investment amount of Rs. 25 lakhs. However, Himanshu Rai couldn’t not convince Rajnarayan Dube to invest the amount because of the dismal returns on investment that the Indian movie industry offered. At this point, it would seem that Bombay Talkies would never come to be, but things have a way of working out in unexpected ways.