In Hindi cinema today, women advance step by step with men. Today, in the field of cinema, women not only act as actresses, but also take on various tasks as a director, producer, videographer, host. However, it was not easy for women to come to the movies in earlier times. The women who worked in this industry were misunderstood. Devika Rani opened up avenues for girls in the industry at that time. She is called the first star actress of Indian cinema.
Devika Rani went to England at age 9 to study. From there, he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She was heavily influenced by German cinema and followed actress Marlene Deitrich. Devika Rani was the one who brought Indian cinema to world standard. Her performance was compared to that of Greta Garbo, which is why she was also known as ‘Indian Garbo’.
Devika Rani was very irascible by nature and hence she was also called ‘Dragon Lady’. Today, where actresses have to be a part of more and more films to prove their identity, Devika Rani worked on only 15 films in her 10-year career. Devika played the role of a Dalit girl in the 1936 film ‘Untouchable Girl’. After this film, she was given the title of ‘First Lady of the Indian Screen’.
Sarojini Naidu and Devika had a good friendship. It is said that it was at his behest that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru saw the movie ‘Untouchable Girl’. He was so impressed with the movie that he wrote a fan letter on behalf of Devika and later received the Padma Shri. She also appeared in a London newspaper where she was praised for her acting and beauty.
Devika Rani is credited with bringing Dilip Kumar into the industry. Dileep went to the Bomme Talkies studio with Doctor Masani where Devika Rani asked him if he wanted to become an actor. For this, you will receive a salary of Rs 1250 per month. He then introduced Dilip Kumar to Ashok Kumar and asked him to recruit this boy as an actor. In those days, Raj Kapoor worked for only 170 rupees. When Dileep and Raj Kapoor were discussed, Dileep told them about his salary. About this, Raj Kapoor contacted Devika Rani and told her why is my salary less than Dilip’s? About this, Devika Rani had said that ‘you two are rookies and there is no price for a rookie. Raj Kapoor felt bad about it and left work from there.
When Devika returned from England after studying, she met producer Himanshu Roy. Himanshu was so impressed by Devika’s beauty that in 1933 he offered Devika to work on his film ‘Karma’, which Devika accepted. Devika’s hero in this movie was Himanshu Rai. It was the first English-speaking film made by an Indian. Not only this, Devika Rani became the actress who gave the first kissing scene in Hindi cinema, which was a 4 minute long scene. After this scene, Devika was heavily criticized and the movie was also banned. Later, Himanshu married Devika. Devika and Himanshu Roy together formed a studio called Bombay Talkies under the banner of which many blockbuster films were made.
Producer Himanshu Roy passed away in 1940 and Devika Rani took over ‘Bombay Talkies’. This study resulted in successful films such as ‘Reunion’ and ‘Luck’. On the one hand, he was taking over the studio, on the other hand, he was struggling with acting on his mind. Meanwhile, while working on the production of the first film ‘Jowar Bhata’ starring Dilip Kumar, he met Svetoslav Roerich. Devika went to Svetoslav Roerich’s studio to design her latest film. At the same time, their meeting turned into friendship and then love. The two were married a year after this meeting and Devika stopped Bombay Talkies. Devika Rani died on March 9, 1994 and left this world forever.