Alam Ara (The Light of the World; [1931), directed by Ardeshir Irani, was the first Indian sound film. Irani recognized the importance that sound would have on the cinema, and raced to complete Alam Ara before several other contemporary sound films. Alam Ara debuted at the Majestic Cinema in Mumbai (then Bombay) on March 14, 1931 . The first Indian talkie was so popular that "police aid had to be summoned to control the crowds."The film is love story between a prince and a gypsy girl, based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David. David later served as a writer at Irani's film company. The story centers on an imaginary, historical royal family in the kingdom of Kumarpur. The main characters are the king and his two warring wives Dilbahar and Navbahar. Their rivalry escalates when a fakir predicts that Navbahar will bear the king's heir. Dilbahar, in revenge, attempts to have an affair with the kingdom's chief minister Adil. The affair goes sour and a vengeful Dilbahar imprisons him and exiles his daughter, Alam Ara (Zubeida). In exile, Alam Ara is brought up by Gypsies. Upon returning to the palace at Kumarpur, Alam Ara meets and falls in love with the charming young prince (Master Vithal). In the end, Adil is released, Dilbahar is punished and the lovers marry.After the fire at National Archives of India, Pune, in 2003, which destroyed last surviving prints of several classics such as Raja Harishchandra and Achyut Kanya, this film is no longer available in original format .
Year of Production: 1931
Length: 124 mins
Country: British Indian Ocean Territory
- Ardeshir Irani
- Imperial Movietone
- Master Vithal, Zubeida, Jilloo, Sushila, Prithviraj Kapoor