Jivatang Jyotiretu Chhayam
(Light infusing shadows with life)

Birendra Nath Sircar, a civil engineer from City and Guilds of London turned studio owner, turned film producer, was the man behind the setting up of the New Theatres in February 1931.

It had for its Sanskrit: Jivatang Jyotiretu Chayam. New Theatres gave Indian cinema a wealth of talent, the sophistication of professional management, social awareness and most important, a good name.

Dena Paona, a Bengali talkie, was produced by New Theatres and released in 1931. It was directed by Premankur Atarthi, with music composed by Raichand Boral. New Theatres made its reputation secure with Chandidas directed by Debaki Bose in 1932. In 1935, P.C. Barua directed and acted in Devdas, based on Saratchandra Chatterjee's novel Devdas, and this film became phenomenally successful in the industry. 

Kanan Devi was the first popular star actress, who appeared in many films produced by New Theatres. Also there was a group of talented actors with New Theatres like K.L. Saigal, K. C. Dey, Prithviraj Kapoor, Chhabi Biswas, Bikash Roy, Pahari Sanyal, Basanta Choudhury. Directors like Premankur Atarthi, P.C. Barua, Debaki Bose and Nitin Bose worked in New Theatres. Musicians who worked there included R. C. Boral, Pankaj Mullick and Timir Baran. 

The unique selling point of a New Theatres production was – (a) a solid storyline, preferably picked from Bengali literature, (b) lilting songs and background music, (c) sound technique, and (d) good acting. Sircar never interfered with the film while it was under production.

In August 1940 a huge fire engulfed the New Theatres lab and burned down the years of work. However, without letting the bitterness of adversity bog him down, Birendra Nath quietly put it all together again and succeeded. He wanted not just cinema halls and a studio; he wanted a system. The New Theatres banner gave classics like Vidyapati, Chandidas, Puran Bhagat comedies like Wapas, musical like Street Singer, socials like Devdas & My sister.

Hindi apeaking audiences of the '30s and '40s will remember Devdas, President, Wapas, Dushman, Chandidas, Dhoop Chhaon as films which were not only grossers but which also brought them face to face with a wealth of Bengali talent. Over a span of 24 years (1931-1955) New Theatres has produced 150 films shot in its own studios.

By the '50s, the slide downwards began, to a point of no return.

B N Sircar

Birendra Nath Sirkar

Founder, New Theatres Ltd.

Established in 1931
Click here to read more about him


P C Barua

P C Barua

Kanan Bala

Kanan Bala

K L Saigal

K L Saigal

Pankaj Mullick

Pankaj Mullick



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