Entrepreneurial filmmaker Himansu Rai (1892−1940) and his movie-star wife Devika Rani (1908−1994) played a crucial role in the development of mainstream Bombay cinema. After creating landmark silent films in the 1920s based on traditional Indian stories, which were largely seen in Europe, they turned their attention to home.
As co-founders of the legendary Bombay Talkies film studio, they aimed to make films about contemporary India that would speak to a wide audience.
Running for 20 years and releasing 40 films, Bombay Talkies was one of India’s most innovative and highly resourced movie studios. It is credited with introducing the musical narrative structure that characterises modern Bollywood, and launched the careers of several prominent Indian film industry luminaries including superstars Ashok Kumar (1911–2001) and Leela Chitnis (1909-2003).
Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments.
8 Feb - 2 Jul
For the very first time, our free Bombay Talkies exhibition will showcase the treasure-trove that is the Dietze Family Trust archive, a Melbourne-based collection of more than 3,000 cultural artefacts gathered from the legendary Indian film studio, Bombay Talkies.
This extraordinary archive, which traces Indian cinema's journey from silent film to sound, represents the most comprehensive collection of 1920s and 1930s Indian film studio ephemera in the world.