Ardeshir Irani

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Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Irani (5 December 1886 – 14 October 1969) ; popularly known as Ardeshir Irani, was a writer, director, producer, actor, film distributor, film showman and cinematographer in the silent and sound eras of early Indian cinema. He was renowned for making films in Hindi, English, German, Indonesian, Persian, Urdu and Tamil. He was a successful entrepreneur who owned film theatres, a gramophone agency, and a car agency.

Life and career

Ardeshir Irani was born into a Zoroastrian family on 5 December 1886 in Poona, Bombay Presidency. In 1905, Irani became the Indian representative of Universal Studios and he ran Alexander Cinema in Bombay with Abdulally Esoofally for over forty years. It was at Alexander Cinema that Ardeshir Irani learnt the rules of the art of filmmaking and became fascinated by the medium. In 1917, Irani entered the field of film production and produced his first silent feature film, Nala Dayamanti, which released in 1920.

In 1922, Irani joined Bhogilal Dave, the former manager of Dadasaheb Phalke's Hindustan Films, and established Star Films. Their first silent feature film, Veer Abhimanyu was released in 1922 and starred Fatima Begum in the female lead. Dave, a graduate of the New York School of Photography, shot the films while Irani directed and produced them. Star Films produced seventeen films before Irani and Dave dissolved the partnership.

In 1924, Irani founded Majestic Films,...
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