The Bombay Talkies Ltd., was founded by Himansu Rai and Devika Rani in 1934 at Malad
. It was a public limited company formed by eminent businessmen of Mumbai .
The Bombay Talkies revolutionized the standards of motion picture production in India, collaborating with experts from England, Germany, France. Young Indian men and women were trained in the art and techniques of film production. Himansu Rai took great pains to purchase the most modern equipment for the studio from Germany. By the year 1935, Bombay Talkies began to produce a stream of Hindi productions. The first film to be produced at the studio was Jawani Ki Hawa (1935) starring Devika Rani. The Bombay Talkies has produced a vast number of famous producers, directors, stars, musicians, writers, poets and technicians who even today rank among the best in the country.
Bombay Talkies like other big companies was a self-sufficient organized studio which had public issues, declared dividends, bonus and which had an independent financial standing in the stock exchange. The trainee program initiated by the founders was a major draw. Each year interviews were held for many candidates, most of them sent by Indian Universities. Ashok Kumar, the veteran actor began his career as a laboratory assistant at this studio. Raj Kapoor also began his career here as a clapper boy.
After the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, Bombay Talkies faced a number of problems which disturbed Himanshu Rai, leading to a nervous breakdown and ultimate death. After Rai's death, Devika Rani took control of Bombay Talkies. But by 1945, she too left due to differences with other studio executives.
Bombay Talkies did bring out box office hits like Ziddi (1948) and Mahal (1949), but it could not hold on without a strong personality to lead the show. Badbaan (1954) was the last movie produced here.