By Dewan Zubair Farooqui

New Theatres was established on 10th Feb 1931and produced 150 films during 24 years (1931-1955)

Cinema is considered between Drama and Novel. You can see in a film most of what is described in a novel. New Theatres adopted a low-key naturalistic style in film acting. It really served as an academy for training the film industry personnel in the sub-continent.  There were three main music directors on the strength of this theatre. They created history.


Rai Chand Boral

Rai Chand was born in 1903 at Calcutta. His father Lal Chand Boral was a classical musician (expert of Dhurpat). He had three sons and Raichand was the youngest. Musicians from Gawalior and Rampur were invited for lessons. These include Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan, Masit Khan –tabla player, Ustad Hafeez Ali Khan –sarod player. Raichand learnt “Sath Sangat” on tabla and attended music conferences at Luckhnow, Allahabad and Banares. (met Mushtaq Hussain, Alauddin, Inayat Ali)   Raichand joined the Indian Broadcasting Co. in the year of its inception, 1927. Later (1931) he shifted to the New Theatres Ltd. in the silent era for supporting the stage with live music. (Chaser Maye and Chorkanta) He dissolved the Ghazal style of singing from the Northern India into 19th century Bengali tunes with string instrument medium. His famous films were Puran Bhagat, Chandidas, Dhoop Chhaon, Manzil, Anath Ashram, Vidiyapati, President, Abhagin, Jawani ki Reet, Sapera, Haar Jeet, Lagan, Saugand, Wapas *and Wasiat Nama. Anjangarh (1948) was his last famous film with New Theatres.  He is known for introducing play-back singing in 1935 (Bhagyachakra - first film with playback songs). Singers team include Pahari Saniyal, Kanan Devi and Talat Mehmood (as Tapan Kumar). Other playback singers of New Theatre were Radha Rani, Ila Gosh, Suprova Sarkar, Dhananjay Bhattacharyia. He is correctly titled by “Anil Biswas” as the father of Indian Cinema Music. He had directed music of 150 films. His music compositions for the film “Vidayapati” are considered to be the best of any time in Indian Cinema. He has depicted a scene of storm through music “Doley hirde ki nayia” (Kanan)

After coming to Bombay (1953) he composed music for Dard-e-Dil  with Lata's songs.

Music for some basic records was also composed by him.

He received National Award “Sagar Sangam” in 1958 and “Sangeet Natak Akedemi Award” in 1978. Dada Sahib Phalke Award was received by him in 1978 at the age of 75.

He passed away in 1981. 

* “Manwa Kahey Phir tarpae…..Yad kisi ki dil mein Aai, Nanon Nein Phir Jhari Lagai”

Hindi Filmography

Mohabbat Ke Aansoo 1932, Zinda Laash 1932, Subah Ka Sitaara, Pooran Bhagat 1933, Rajrani Meera 1933, Chandidas 1934, Dakoo Mansoor 1934, Rooplekha 1934, After the Earthquake 1935, Karwan-e-Hayaat 1935 with Mihirkiron Bhattacharya, Dhoop Chhaon 1935 (with Pankaj Mullick ), Manzil 1936 (with Pankaj Mullick), Millionaire (Krorepati) 1936 (with Pankaj Mullick), Maya 1936, Anath Aashram 1937, Vidyapati 1937, President 1937 (with Pankaj Mullick), Abhagin 1938, Street Singer 1938, Jawani Ki Reet 1939, Sapera 1939, Haar Jeet 1940), Lagan 1941, Sugand 1942, Waapas 1943, Humrahi 1945, Wasiatnaama 1945, Anjangarh 1948, Pahela Admi 1950, Dard-e-Dil 1953, Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 1953, Swami Vivekanand 1955, Amar Saigal 1955 (with Pankaj Mullick and Timir Baran)

Bengali Filmography

Dena Prona 1931, Punarjanma 1932, Chirakumar Sabha 1932, Palli Samaj 1932, Chandidas 1932, Mastuto Bhai 1933, Kapalkundala 1933, Meerabai 1933, Ruplekha 1934, Excuse Me Sir 1934, Debdas 1935 (with Pankaj Mullick), Bhagyachakra 1935, Grihadaha 1936 (with Pankaj Mullick), Maya 1936 (with Pankaj Mullick), Didi 1937 (with Pankaj Mullick), Bidypati 1938, Abhijnan 1938, Sathi 1938, Sapudey 1939, Rajat Jayani 1939, Parajay 1940, Abhinetri 1940, Parichay 1941, Prastisruti 1941, Udayer Pathey 1944, Biraj Bou 1946, Anjangarh 1948, Mantramugda 1949, Vishnupriya 1949, Paritran 1951, Sparshamani 1951.



Timir Baran

Timir Baran Bhatacharya belonged to family of Sanskrit Scholars. He was born in 1904. He learned Sarod playing initially from Radhikaparsad Goswami and then remained a student of Ustad Allauddin Khan  ( who also taught internationally famous Ravi Shankar).  He toured Europe and USA after joining Uday Shankar’s Dance Troupe in 1930. He had an unrivalled reputation as a composer of dance music of that period. He was a symbol of passionate rendering.  Worked in Madhu Bose’s Calcutta Art Players 1934 and visited Java and Bali.  On joining the New Theatres, he composed music for “Devdas” .in 1935-“Balam Aao Baso Morey Mann Mein”. Other important films include “Pujaran” 1936 (“Jo Beet Chuki so Beet Chuki Ab Uus Ki Yad Satae Keun”) produced by International Film Craft and “Adhikar” 1938 of New Theatres. His other Hindi films are Sagar’s “Kumkum, The Dancer”1940, Circo’s “Laxmi” 1940 and “Raj Nartaki” 1941. Subsequently he joined All India Radio and conducted music for Tagore’s non-violence poetry in 1947. Later he composed music for Uma Production’s “Sampati” in 1949.

He then shifted to Bombay and worked at Sagar and Wadia studios. He directed music for films “Badbaan”(with S.K.Pal in 1954) at Bombay, Anokhi *(with Hasan Latif Lalik) at Karachi-Pakistan (1955- with songs of Zubaida Khanum filmed on Sheela Ramani), Fankar (W.Pakistan - 1956) and “Jog Biyog” (Bengali – East Pakistan – 1970). His earlier Bengali films include Bijoya 1935, Uttarayan 1941, Bondita 1945, Bicahrak 1959,Thana Theke Aschhi 1965,Diba Ratrik Kabya 1970 and Dak Diyajai 1978.

Afterwards he devoted himself to the music faculty of Tagor’s Shanti Naketan at Calcutta. He became eternal in 1987.

+ “Kaisey Koi Jiey Zehar hae Zindagi” by “Hemant” and also “Geeta” * “Deep bujhey haae Raat Jali …”



Pankhaj Kumar Mallick

The composer, director, singer and actor

He was born in 20th April 1904 at Calcutta. In preference to college studies he became student of Durgadas Banerjee and thereafter of Dinendra-nath Tagore (1925) for learning music. His first record was released by the Videophone Co. in the year 1926. He accompanied R.C.Boral in joining Indian Broadcasting Co where he conducted educational programs on music for 45 continued years

He then worked for “International Filmcraft” and conducted the live orchestra for silent films. On joining the New Theatres in 1933 (where R.C.Boral was already working) he composed music for “Yahudi ki Larki”. He assisted Raichand Boral in Dhoop Chaon 1935, Karorpati, Manzil 36 and President 37. Rabinder’s Sangeet was introduced by him in Mukti (1937). Other important films include Dharti Mata 38, Dushman (with R.C.Boral and assistant Hariprasna Das ? )39,  Kapal Kundla, Zindagi (with assistant T.N.Dey) 40, Nartaki, Doctor 41, Meenakshi 42, *Kashinath 43, My Sister 44, Oonch Neech 48, Chota Bhai,  Manzoor 1949, Roop Kahani 50, Choti Maa 52 and Yatrik. The Art Films of Asia’s “Zalzala”. Naya Safar 53, Chitrangda 54 and Amar Saigal 55 were the last with his music direction

Records in his own voice of K.L Saigol’s songs in film “My Sister” which were composed by him were released in 1948. He acted and sang in Associated Production’s “Aandhi” 1940 for which music was composed by K.C.Dey (the blind). He was associated with Jamal Sen in music direction of Sargam Picture’s “Kasturi” which included his playback songs. “Anjangarh” (1948) of New Theatres was an earlier film with his playback songs

His Bengali films include Mukti 1937, Desher Mati 38, Badididi 39, Jiban Maran 39, Nartaki 40, Daktar 40, Meenakshi 42, Dikshul 43, Dui Purush 45, Nurse Sisi 47, Ramer Sumati 47, Pratibad 48, Roop Katha 50, Nabin Yatra 53, Mahaprasthaner Pathey 1953, Rajkamal 1955, Louha-Kapat 57, Ahwan 61 and Bighalita Karuna Jahabi Jamuna 72

He sang several basic songs (“Yeh raten yeh mosam”, “Dunia dari chor de manwa” etc.) including those conducted on European Music Director F.Casonovas. “Yad aye ke na aye thumari”, “Pran chahe nena na chahe”, etc. 

Punkhaj’s compositions include “Bura Kia Jo Piyar Kia”and ”Eak Hae Dil Lakhoon Arman” sung by Kumari Eila Gosh  She also sang “ Apen Jiwan Darpan Niyara” in film Doctor.

He was author of the following books:

Geet Valmiki, Swara Lipika, Raga Lakshana Geet Manjari and Mahishasura Mardina.

He received Phalke Award in 1972. On the demise (19.2.78) of the legend, the first person to reach his residence was R.C.Boral. *“Man mohan mukhra morr gaye  ……..”

Through their immortal work they continue to be living with us.

Guzar Gaya Woh Zamana Kaisa Kaisa

They lived and flourished in a period marked by genuine artistic endeavor and high aesthetic purpose.

The environments of Bombay were not conducive to their style of work. Credit must be given to the Sound Recordist at the New Theatres – “Mr. Mukul Bose” for his quality recording on the sound track. The high quality of N.T.gramophone records depict his capabilities.

Mukul Bose


( Bengali Filmography by courtesy of M.Rafiq Esqr. UK)

About the author

Dewan Zubair Farooqui is a businessman with a craze for music produced at Calcutta. He has a comprehensive collection of New Theatre Records and other basic songs of Juthika Roy, Jag Mohan, Hemant Kumar, Talat Mehmood and many more. In addition he has a large collection of rare records of Bombay Films. He has a melodious voice and as an amateur singer pays tribute to Hemant, Punkhaj, Jagmohan, and K.L.Saigal.   

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