Historic News Articles

Illustrated London News – Front-page splash on the British royal family viewing an Elphinstone Bioscope show outside Government House, Kolkata

King George V and Queen Mary watching J F Madan films in Calcutta
Image: The Illustrated London News – 3rd February 1912 (public domain via Flickr)

A London Illustrated News front-page from 1912, depicting the King-Emperor and Queen watching films put on by the Elphinstone Bioscope company. This scene took place during the Delhi Durbar outside Government House. The Elphinstone Bioscope was the predecessor firm to Jamshedji Framji Madan’s Madan Theatres Ltd. You should be able to zoom in for more details.

Based on some of the information provided in the description, it is reasonable to assume that there is Madan-produced Durbar footage that is uncatalogued.

The text reads: “While the King-Emperor and the Queen-Empress were in Calcutta a command exhibition of bioscope pictures of the Durbar and ceremonies connected with it was given at Government House. The “show” lasted for forty-eight minutes and their Imperial Majesties saw their State Entry into Delhi, the presentation of the colours there, the Durbar, their arrival at Calcutta, the race for the Emperor’s Cup and the Calcutta pageant.”

“The screen was set up opposite the south front of Government House, some fifty yards from the entrance, on the balcony above which the King and Queen sat. The suite and other guests were on either side of the porch beneath. The Governor-General’s band “accompanied” all the films displayed, save those of the pageant, during which the Tagore Band played. Mr J.F. Madan, proprietor of the Elphinstone Bioscope, was honoured with the command.”


Newspaper cuttings held by Singapore Press Holdings (selected)

“Talkies for Ceylon and India”
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 21 November 1928, Page 2

“THEATRICALS IN INDIA – Mr H B Waring Forming a New Film Company”
The Straits Times, 14 February 1920, Page 10

FILM COMPANY IN BANGALORE: An Indian Hollywood
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 10 April 1929, Page 2

Theatrical Adventures: New Project to Meet Eastern Demands
The Straits Times, 16 February 1924, Page 10

Public Amusements
The Straits Times, 25 August 1928, Page 10

Audacious Appeal for a War Fund
The Straits Times, 20 January 1916, Page 7

CINEMA WAR IN INDIA? American Film Companies’ Plans
The Straits Times, 9 November 1928, Page 10

PICKETING OF CINEMA HOUSES
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 18 June 1930, Page 12

SREE KRISHNA LEENA
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 17 June 1927, Page 9

Untitled
The Straits Times, 21 July 1925, Page 8

Untitled
The Straits Times, 14 August 1923, Page 8

THEATRICAL DEAL – Mr Warwick Major Parting with His Interests
The Straits Times, 13 November 1919, Page 2

ALL INDIA CINEMA DAY – Proceeds to Imperial Indian Relief Fund
The Straits Times, 19 May 1919, Page 10

Untitled
The Straits Times, 9 July 1915, Page 6

The Moving Picture World

“Elphinstone of Calcutta – a noted theater” June 9, 1917
A detailed description of the theatre, including interior and exterior images.

“Denies India is Backward” August 14, 1915
J F Madan writes a long letter to the Editor of The Moving Picture World

“Indian Notes” August 10, 1918

Times of India

Announcement of the contract between Pathe-Cinema and Madan Theatres, Ltd. August 12 1920

“A Madan Memorial: Calcutta Public’s Decision”, August 29 1923, page 10

“Mr J F Madan Dead: Big Cinema Proprietor”, June 30 1923, page 11

American Cinematographer

Mention of Madan theatres acquiring RCA equipment for recording sound – January 1931

The Statesman

“Death of Mr J F Madan: Striking Business Career”, June 29 1923

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