ACMI’s Bombay Talkies exhibition captures the excitement and glamour of early Indian cinema.

In 1934, ambitious and entrepreneurial filmmaker Himansu Rai (1892-1940) and his movie-star wife Devika Rani (1908-1994) co-founded the legendary Bombay Talkies film studio. Releasing 40 films over 20 years the studio was one of India's most innovative and highly resourced, launching the careers of several prominent luminaries including Ashok Kumar and Raj Kapoor.

The exhibition showcases, for the very first time, the Dietze Family Trust archive, a Melbourne-based treasure trove of more than 3000 cultural artefacts once owned by Himansu Rai. The archive is the most comprehensive collection of 1920s and 1930s Indian film studio ephemera in the world.

With lavish production values and a global outlook, Bombay Talkies was renowned for producing films on controversial topics such as the caste-system and women’s roles in Indian society. It is credited with introducing the musical narrative structure that characterises modern Bollywood, as well as spearheading the film world’s first international co-productions.


Image credit: Film still from A Throw of Dice (1929) featuring Himansu Rai, centre

Australian Centre for the Moving Image 

Bombay Talkies

Presented by Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Date & Time:

8 February – 2 July 2017

10am - 5pm daily