Himanshu Rai (1892 - 1940)

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Death: Died in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation: founder of the Bombay Talkies
Managed by: Pavel Astafiev
Last Updated:
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About Himanshu Rai

Himanshu Rai (1892–1940), one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, is best known as the founder of the Bombay Talkies in 1934. He was associated with a number of movies, including Goddess (1922), The Light of Asia (1925), Siraj (1926), A Throw of Dice (1928) and Karma (1933). He was married to actress Devika Rani. At Bombay Talkies studio, Rai partnered with Sashadhar Mukherjee, and Mukherjee's brother in law worked as a technician in the studio. Due to suspected romantic liaisons between his wife and the leading man in one film, Himanshu sacked the leading man and cast the gawky, awkward-looking and reluctant brother-in-law Ashok Kumar as the leading man. Kumar went on to have a successful career in films. After Rai's death, there was a struggle for studio control. His widow Devika Rani was in conflict with Sashadhar Mukherjee. Eventually there was dual control and alternate production of films by the two camps. During this era Mukherjee produced the studio's biggest hit Kismet in 1943. Then Mukherjee broke away to form Filmistan in partnership, and Devika Rani, fully in charge of the studio, did not have as much success. In 1945 Devika Rani married Svetoslav Roerich and moved away from Bombay and films. Ashok Kumar and Mukherjee made a bid to revive Bombay talkies and produced one big hit in Mahal. Eventually the studio shut down and is now a decrepit property in Malad

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