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Roy, Himangshu


Roy, Himangshu (1892-1940) one of the founders of Indian cinema, actor and founder of Bombay Talkies, was born in 1892 at Cuttack, but his ancestral home was in manikganj. His father, Hemendranath Roy, was manager of various estates in Bihar and Orissa. Himangshu had his primary education at Brahmacharyashram in santiniketan. During the First World War he went to England where he completed his schooling and then took up the study of law. However, he was more interested in drama and other cultural activities. In 1922, he made his debut in Niranjan Pal's Goddess. Finally, quitting law, he took up the study of cinema.

Himangshu went to Germany for cinematic studies. In Germany he established the Great Eastern Film Corporation. Jointly with Munich's Emalka Film Company and the German director Frantz Austen, he produced films such as The Light of Asia (1925), Siraj (1926), Throw of a Dice (1928) and Karma (1933). Karma, which was in English, with Indian actors and actresses including Himangshu and his wife Debika Rani, was highly acclaimed when it was exhibited in Britain and other European countries. The acting of Himangshu and his wife Debika Rani was also greatly appreciated. His Light of Asia was exhibited in London for ten months in 1926 and was adjudged the third best film of the year.

In 1933 Himangshu returned to India and set up Bombay Talkies, serving as its managing director until his death. It was because of his expertise that Bombay Talkies was regarded as the best film organisation of the east. It was from here that films like Achchhyut Kanya, Jivan Prabhat and Bachan were produced. The famous filmstar Dilip Kumar made his debut through Bombay Talkies. [Anupam Hayat]