Centenary Of Indian Cinema

Dilip Kumar’s ‘Aan’ was the First Technicolor Film In Indian Cinema

Two decades later film monarch Mehboob Khan after the huge success of Andaaz (1949) starring Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Nargis decided to make India’s most expensive film. The film was Aan (1952) starring Dilip Kumar and Nadira. To add glitter and glitz he decided to make the film in Technicolor –The color technology used in Hollywood films. Since Ardeshir Irani‘s first color film Kisan Kanya had poor color technology, hence Mehboob Khan and cinematographer Faredoon A. Irani, went to Hollywood to study color technology.

The film was shot on Koda chrome film stock in a 16mm camera and blew up the film to 35mm. However for superior print color and production Mehboob Khan cleverly processed the film in Technique Color prints in London!! The result was fabulous! The film had top stars like Dilip Kumar, Nimmi, Premnath and new sensational discovery Nadira. The film had music by Music maestro Naushad. For the first time the film had recorded 100 piece orchestra in London and it was played on BBC Radio!!

The film was made on a huge budget of Rs 3.5 crore (a huge amount in 50’s –equivalent to 28 crore in 2018). The film was a huge hit! The film won international applause and was shown all around the world. The success of Aan boosted Mehboob Khan‘s confidence and he made India’s greatest masterpiece in color Mother India (1957). The film won huge success not only in India but also became India’s first film to win the top 5 positions at Oscar Awards!

Other films that successfully used Technique colors were V. Shantaram‘s Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955) and Navrang (1959). Sohrab Modi‘s lavishly produced ‘Color by Technicolor’ Jhansi Ki Rani (1956) failed at the box-office.

To cut expense, filmmakers used color for a song or 2 like Guru Dutt shooting the title song of his film Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1961).  K. Asif too was enchanted by the dazzling color and filmed the hit song Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya in his magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Dilip Kumar‘s Gunga Junma was another milestone shot in Technique color. Later in the ’70s, Ramesh Sippy‘s Sholay is also shot in Technique color!

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