The Hindu Times from 24th December carries a fascinating article on the career of Jahanara Kajjan, a singer and actor who was active in the 1930s.
Pran Neville writes: “As a young lad in Lahore, I dimly remember, seeing her in Madan Theatres’ “Laila Majnu” (1931). I recall its roaring publicity through splash of posters and eye-catching hoardings all over the city with dazzling pictures of Miss Kajjan…”
In 1929, Madan Theatres exhibited the first talking picture in India, Universal’s Melody of Love at the Elphinstone Picture Palace in Calcutta. Sadly this is one of the many “lost silent films”, due to the fragility of film reel at the time.
This was the first theatre in the East to be equipped with permanent sound apparatus. Soon after, on February 2 1, the same film was presented at the Excelsior Theatre in Mumbai By the end of 1930, more than 30 out of a total of 370 theatres in the country were technical ready for sound projections of film. 10 J.J.Madan had seen The Jazz Singer in New York. The tremendous public response to the film had convinced him about the unavoidable impact of sound in cinema.
There is only very limited information on the locations of J F Madan’s cinemas, theatres, sound stages and other sites. The map below shows some of the sites where the theatres once stood in Kolkata, several are still standing.
This beautiful painting is held at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. It depicts one of Madan’s theatres at night in Delhi. We would love to know more about the painting, when it was drawn and which theatre or cinema it features. Please contact us if you have any information.
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 and business. The site is maintained by relatives of J F Madan.
Under “resources” you will find links to relevant books, articles and historical documents that might be relevant to your research. Please get in contact if you would like to make a contribution or need any help in finding information relevant to Madan Theatres.