Jamshedji Framji Madan: The Indian Theatre Magnate


September 17, 2019

Post by




Jamshedji Framji Madan, professionally called J.F.Madan was an Indian theatre and film magnate who was the pioneer of film production in India.

He was born to a Parsi family in Mumbai in the year 1857, April 27. He dropped school and joined a dramatic club as a prop boy in 1868.

Article on IWMBuzz


He also donned the cap of an exhibitor, distributor, and producer of films and plays. He owned two Parsi Theatre Company in Mumbai in the 1890s. In 1902, he moved to Calcutta and founded the Elphinstone Bioscope Company under which he started producing and exhibiting silent movies. Jyotish Sarkar’s Bengal Partition Movement in 1905 was one of the silent movies exhibited by this company.

Also, Madan acquired rights to Pathe Freres films and expanded his empire considerably after acquiring the same. Thereafter he produced Satyavati Raja Harishchandra in 1917, which is the first feature film to be shot in Kolkata and Bilwamangal in 1919.

His company, Madan Theatres Limited, was a major force in Indian theatre during the 1920s and 1930s decade, during which the company produced around 113 movies. Elphinstone merged into Madan Theatres Limited in 1919 and brought many of Bengali’s most popular literary works to the stage.
By the time the silent Era of Indian cinema ended, his company has started producing non-mythological and social movies.

In 1907, Jamshedji Framji Madan established Chaplin Cinema. At that time its name was Elphinstone Picture Palace. It was named Minerva Theatre later. The theatre was demolished by the municipal corporation in 2013 as it remained non-functional for several years.

He hired several foreign directors besides importing many foreign films to the Indian industry. It is worth noting that he is the great grandfather of American actor Erick Avari.

In the late 1920s, Madan’s Company-owned 127 theatres across the country and controlled half of the countries box office.