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First Farsi sound film Lor Girl was shot on sets of Alam Ara

Film restorer Shivendra Singh Dungarpur shared interesting trivia concerning both films at the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival.

Posters of Lor Girl and Alam Ara

Keyur Seta

Filmmaker Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara (1931) is considered the first Indian talkie. Unfortunately, as of 2022, no print of the Hindustani-language fantasy film is known to exist.

Pictures: Rare stills from India’s first talkie, Alam Ara

Film restorer and historian Shivendra Singh Dungarpur shared an interesting piece of trivia about Alam Ara’s connection with the first Farsi talkie Lor Girl (1932) at a masterclass at the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF). 

And then there was Sound: 90 years of the first Indian talkie, Alam Ara (1931)

Talking about the place where Alam Ara was shot, Dungarpur said, “Not very far from here [in South Mumbai] is Jyoti Studio. It still stands where the first sound film was shot and that was Alam Ara. Ardeshir Irani was the producer of that studio and it was one of the biggest studios of that time, the 1930s.” 

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Dungarpur said that Lor Girl, which was also directed by Irani, was also shot at the same studio. They decided to use the same sets and background actors that were used in Alam Ara. “The irony is that Alam Ara didn’t survive but Lor Girl survives in Iran,” he said.

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur at the masterclass

"If you ever get a chance to see Lor Girl, you will see that the background is the same [as that of Alam Ara]. It’s just the actors who have changed. That’s the only remnant [of Alam Ara],” he said.

Starring Roohangiz Samineja and Abdolhossein Sepanta, Lor Girl revolves around a young woman who is kidnapped by a group of bandits. 

Prithviraj Kapoor, the shahenshah of Bombay cinema

Dungarpur also spoke about the casting of Prithviraj Kapoor in Alam Ara. When the legendary actor arrived in Mumbai to fulfil his dream of becoming an actor, he got down at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus [Victoria Terminus at that time] and went to the Opera House first. 

“He was told to go and meet Ardeshir Irani in Jyoti Studio,” said Dungarpur. “He spent the night with an Afghan guard. The next morning when he [Irani] came, he [realized] he was such a good looking man that he launched him in Alam Ara. This is also where Shyam Benegal [once] had an office and where Bhumika (1977) was shot. [Today], it’s surviving with mechanic shops and all that.”  

Alam Ara also starred Master Vitthal and Zubeida. 

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Mumbai International Film Festival