Founded by Jamshedji Framji Madan CBE, Madan Theatres grew to become the largest filmmaker, distributor and theatre business in India. Madan and his companies were responsible for a number of firsts in Indian cinema, including the country’s first purpose-built cinema, first Bengali feature and first Bengali talkie.

This website is still under construction but the aim is to establish a useful resource for people looking to find out more about J F Madan and his work in film, theatre, business and philanthropy. The site is maintained by relatives of J F Madan, Ashley Coates, Gool Madan Ardeshir and Anjali Dhar.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the news, discoveries and other updates from this group, please follow our Facebook page. Please get in contact if you would like to make a contribution or need any help in finding information relevant to Madan Theatres.


1856 – J F Madan is born
1868 – J F Madan begins his career first as a curtain-puller, then as an actor in Parsi theatre
1902 – J F Madan establishes the Elphinstone Bioscope Company, predecessor to Madan Theatres, to exhibit films in Calcutta
1902 – Madan-owned Corinthian Theatre records some of the earliest known recordings in India
1904 – Elphinstone Bioscope produces its first film
1907 – Elphinstone Picture Palace is built in Calcutta – India’s first purpose-built cinema
1908 – Madan becomes an agent for Pathe
1918 – J F Madan receives his OBE “for meritorious services during the Kabul war”
1912 – J F Madan exhibits at the Delhi Durbar
1919 – Madan Theatres Ltd. is founded on 27th September
1919 – Bilwamangal – first Bengali feature film is produced and shown at the Cornwallis Theatre
1923 – J F Madan awarded CBE
1923 – J F Madan dies, J J Madan takes over management of the company
1925 – Fire destroys much of the Madan Theatres film collection
1927 – Madan Theatres is employing roughly 2,500 individuals.
1927 – J J Madan’s trip to New York, discussion with Universal on buying the firm
1929 – Elphinstone Picture Palace in Calcutta becomes first Asian cinema with permanent sound facilities
1929 – Madan Theatres exhibits the first talkie in India – Universal’s Melody of Love – at the Elphinstone Picture Palace in Calcutta
1931 – Jamai Shashthi – first Bengali talkie film
1931 – Madan Theatres owns or controls 126 theatres
1932 – Indrasabhi – this Hindi film had 71 songs
1937 – Madan Theatres produces its last film
2013 – Chaplin Theatre (formerly Elphinstone Picture Palace) is demolished
2018 – Empire Theatre (built as Palace of Varieties) closes
2020 – National Film Archive of India has acquired parts of Madhabi Kankan, a silent-era film produced by Madan Theatres in 1930

8 replies on “Welcome!”

Dear Madam,
I am a research scholar based in Mumbai. I am writing a book on Silent era of Indian cinema. I am gathering information and documents on Legend film producer Jamshed Faram ji Madan. Except wikipedia there are not much information available abt him. I am keen to write about him in great details.
Kindly suggest me some books on him which would be available. It would be great help If you have some materials and information.
d n Ojha, Mumbai
Ph- 9819433952

Thank you so much for getting in touch. I have queried the family but all our resources are on this site. You may want to speak to Kathryn Hansen.

Dear Madam/Sir
Thanks for ur reply. Ofcourse I would love to speak to any concerned person. There are not much information on your site. I am looking more than that. Any books are available on J F Madan or J J Madan’s life ? Plz let me know.
Kindly give contact number of concerned person. Thanks & regards D N Ojha

Dear sir
I need a book on JF Madan. I have tried thrice to that online site for getting this book. But I can’t get success. You people have started Achieve on Madan theatre. You should have some copies of this book. It will be easy for us to order copy from India.
Kindly update ur site. .

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