The silent era came to an end when Ardeshir Irani produced his first talkie, 'Alam Ara' in 1931. If Phalke was the father of Indian cinema, Irani was the father of the talkie. The talkies changed the face of Indian cinema. Apart from looks, the actors not only needed a commanding voice but also singing skills, as music became a defining element in Indian cinema. The year also marked the beginning of the Talkie era in South Indian films. The first talkie films in Bengali (Jumai Shasthi), Telugu (Bhakta Prahlad) and Tamil (Kalidass) were released in the same year.
The forties was a tumultuous decade; the first half was ravaged by war and the second saw drastic political changes all over the world. In the middle of the Second World War in 1945 came 'Kismet' starring Ashok Kumar which became one of the biggest hits in the history of Indian cinema. It had some bold themes - the first anti-hero and an unmarried pregnancy. It clearly showed that the filmmakers of the era were bolder than the times in which they were living in. A close relationship between epic consciousness and the art of cinema was established. It was against this backdrop that filmmakers like V.Shantaram, Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor and Mehboob Khan made... [continues]
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