Kudos to Google for choosing to highlight 80th anniversary of first Indian talkie, Alam Ara, through its Doodle on its India home page today. Unlike Holi and Diwali, this occasion is hardly known even to most of the Indians. So, unlike other Doodles, it is more than just fun. In fact, it has done a great service by putting it up there and thus letting people know that on this day 80 years back, we began our great journey of Indian talkies. While all know that it was in 1931 that Alam Ara was released, few know the exact date. Made by Adreshir Irani, it was released on 14th March 1931 in Mumbai’s Majestic cinema. Here is more details about the movie, Alam Ara in Wikipedia.
Of course, it is difficult for me to talk about movies without the songs! And I need not worry. The first talkie from India had more singing than talking. It had seven songs. One of them, De de khuda ke naam pe pyaare, taaqat ho gar dene ki, kuch chaahe agar to maang le mujhse himmat ho gar lene ki, was a super hit and most people today know only about that song. It was sung by actor Wazir Muhammed Khan who played a fakir on screen.
The remarkable thing about this song is that if you do not know about it and someone plays it before you, it is very difficult to guess that it is a 1931 song. In use of instrument and the voice, it sounds more like an early 50’s song. I could not find a link on the web to post it.