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B. N. Sircar /Sarkar (Birendranath Sircar) (1901–1980) was an Indian film producer and the founder of New Theatres Calcutta. He made Bengali-language films that were noted for introducing many film directors who later became famous. He was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1970 and the third highest civilian award in India, the Padma Bhushan, in 1972.
B. N. Sircar was born in Bhagalpur to the then Advocate-General of Bengal, Sir N. N. Sircar. He studied Engineering at the University of London and on returning to India he was asked to build a cinema. The project caused him to develop a keen interest in film and he proceeded to build a cinema for the screening of Bengali-language films. Called Chitra, this was opened in Calcutta by Subhas Chandra Bose on 30 December 1930 and was followed by the construction of New Cinema, which showed Hindi films. He then decided to involve himself in making of two silent films.
On 10 February 1931, he founded New Theatres Calcutta. A stickler for quality, Sircar attracted directors such as P.C. Barua, Premankor Atharthi, Debaki Bose, Dhiren Ganguly, Bimal Roy and Phani Majumdar under his wings. Actors such as KL Saigal, Pahadi Sanyal, Amar Mullick, Kanan Devi, Chandrabati Devi, Lila Desai Leela Desai and Prithviraj Kapoor were on his payroll. Technicians like Mukul Bose (Sound Recordist- Director), Yusuf Moolji (Cameraman), Nitin Bose (Cameraman-Director) and Subodh Mitra (Editor) were well aware of the various technical innovations being introduced in Hollywood and Europe and were able to adapt many of these within the limitations of the New Theatres Studio lot. Music composers and singers such as RC Boral, Timir Baran and Pankaj Mullick too were
associated with New Theatres productions. He was the President of the BMPA in the late 1940s.
Dena Paona, a Bengali talkie, was released in 1931, directed by Premankur Atarthi and produced by New Theatres. The musician Raichand Boral composed the music for this movie.
In 1935, P.C. Barua directed and acted in Devdas, based on Saratchandra Chatterjee’s novel Devdas, and this film became phenomenally successful.
In 1935, playback singing was first used in India in the Bengali film Bhagya Chakra by Nitin Bose. The singers were K C Dey, Parul Ghosh and Suprabha Sarkar. Dhoop Chhaon, Hindi remake of this film, was the first Hindi film to use playback singing.
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.
Top directors like Premankur Atarthi, P.C. Barua, Debaki Bose and Nitin Bose worked in New Theatres films. The musicians who worked there include R. C. Boral, Pankaj Mullick and Timir Baran.
He received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema give by Government of India in 1970, and in 1972 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, by Government of India.