The Talking Picture Record Co.
(The Shahenshahi Record Company)
History from “The 78 rpm Record Labels of India”
by Michael Kinnear, 2nd Edition Published 2016
by Michael Kinnear
Shahenshahi Record, 10 inch – Red Label
(“Shahenshahi” – Rangoon Label)
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 300
a – H.E. Patel, 166 Sule Pagoda Road, Rangoon, Burma (trading as)
The Talking Picture Record Co., 166 Sule Pagoda Road,Rangoon Burma
(And) The Talking Picture Record Co., 184 Dharamtalla Street, Calcutta
(And) The Shahenshahi Record Co., 184 Dharamtalla Street, Calcutta
b – The Britannia Talking Machine Co., Ltd., 184 Dharamtalla Street, Calcutta
Manufacturer: The Gramophone Co., Ltd., Dum Dum
NA-1 up (Blue) (Bandoola – Burmese) [TALKING PICTURE]
NA-101 up (Red) (Bandoola)
NA-201 up (Blue)
NB-301 up (Red)
NC-401 up [12”] (Red)
ND-501 up (Blue)
NA-601 up (Blue) (Urdu)
NA-701 up (Blue)
NA-801 up (Blue) [Reissues]
NA-901 up (Blue) (Hindi)
KHN- 1 up (White)
: NO-3001 up (Black, Blue, Plum) (includes Reissues)
QA-4001 up [12”] (Black) [Reissues]
Transfers to: NO-5001 up (Violet) [Reissues] (Including Dilruba Record)
Transfers to: N-16000 series (Plum) [His Master’s Voice]
HT-325 up [12”] (Plum) [His Master’s Voice]
The Talking Picture Record Co. was established at Rangoon, Burma, by H.E. Patel (or Mohammed Salim) during 1933, and was one of the first clients to join the ‘Private recorders’ scheme offered by The Gramophone Co., Ltd. The first releases of The Talking Picture Record Co. were Burmese recordings on the “Bandoola” label, and Hindustani recordings on the “Shahenshahi Record ” label were made in June 1933.
The June 1933 releases introduced the “Bandoola” blue label NA-1, and the red label NA-101 series, along with the 10-inch “Shahenshahi Record” blue-grey label NA-201 series and the 12-inch NC-401 red series, followed by a further half-dozen Burmese titles in July 1933. In August 1933 the 10-inch NB-301 – red label was introduced with additional releases in September to the NA-201 series and more Burmese selections.
A short time after commencing business The Talking Picture Record Co., opened an office in Calcutta, and traded under the name of The Shahenshahi Record Co., at 184 Dharamtalla Street. By May 1934, the Burmese “Bandoola” label had virtually come to a standstill, with the company concentrating on Hindustani and Urdu repertoires.
In May 1934, the blue label ND-501 series was introduced, followed in July by the blue NA-601 series, a special white label Islamic Religious series commencing at KHN-1 for recordings by Hazrat-E-Khwaja Hasan Nizami of Delhi. In September 1934, the Shahenshahi Dramatic Party introduced a blue label NA-901 series for a set of recordings.
[10-inch – Shahenshahi – Dark Blue Label]
(“Shahenshahi” Later label style)
[10-inch – Shahenshahi – Plum Label]
(“Shahenshahi” New Label Style)
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 302
Initially The Talking Picture Record Company, purchased recordings from The Gramophone Co., Ltd., Calcutta, however, when the company signed on as a ‘Private Recorder’ client in August 1934, for both The Talking Picture Record Company and the Dilruba Record Company, they paid for their own recordings to be made.
The recordings financed by The Talking Picture Record Company, were given their own ‘special’ matrix codes – to identify these recordings. Although the recordings were integral with other ‘Gramophone’ recordings in various series, – the recordings owned by The Talking Picture Record Company and its subsidiary concerns may be identified by the additional letter –T – as part of the matrix number. Thus 0E – reads as 0ET, 0PH- reads as T0PH. Most of the recordings financed by The Talking Picture Record Company were recorded on a portable recording machine, (T0PH- and T2PH- Serials) at an undisclosed location in Calcutta.
The output of the company was quite prolific, and by mid-1934, a subsidiary company was formed in the name of The Dilruba Record Co., to promote the ‘Dilruba Record’ (q.v.), which featured a considerable number of recordings taken at Delhi of Islamic interest.
[10-inch – Dilruba Record – Green Label]
[12-inch – Dilruba Record – Red Label]
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 74
In October 1934, the blue label NA-1 series that had begun as the Burmese “Bandoola” series – was converted at NA-13 to the “Shahenshahi” label for Bengali recordings.
In mid-1936, The Talking Picture Record Co., while continuing with new releases, began to reissue earlier recordings with different couplings, from both labels, and also promoted the “Alimophone Record” (q.v.) – for the Alimophone Company of Calcutta, managed by Mohammed Allim.
Alimophone Company, Alimophone – NO. 7006 A
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 8
At about this time The Talking Picture Record Co. shortened the name of their major label to “Shahenshahi” and introduced a new style of label in blue for a N0-3101 series, while continuing with the older style of label for the NA-701 series. In January 1937, the NO-3101 series changed was changed to a pink colour, but by March the label had again been changed to a plum colour.
In June 1937, a 10-inch blue-labelled NO-5001 series was introduced with a selection of recordings that had previously been released on either “Shahenshahi Record” or the “Dilruba Record” labels – although not all of the new NO-5001 series had the same couplings as the original releases. In June 1937, a blue labelled NA-801 series was also introduced which contained reissues from various other series. In August 1937, a 12-inch blue label QA-4001 series was introduced for both new and reissued recordings.
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 399
The Britannia Talking Machine Co., Calcutta.
In about 1938, the business was reformed (with H.E. Patel as the Proprietor) and came under the control of The Britannia Talking Machine Co., who took over retail marketing and representation of the “Shahenshahi” record label, although The Talking Picture Record Co., continued to control the output of the label.
By 1939, The Talking Picture Record Co. had relocated its offices to 6 Windsor House, Mission Row Extension, Calcutta, and a year later removed to 2 Cooper Lane, Calcutta, although the retail sales rooms continued to operate at 184 Dharamtala Street, Calcutta.
Under the control of The Britannia Talking Machine Co., new titles were issued in the NO-3101 series, and those titles from the back catalogue, which were still popular, were reissued in the NO-5001 series, with occasional releases up to 1944.
The Talking Picture Record Co., ceased to provide further recordings after October 1944, however, in 1947, most if not all the recordings previously produced for The Talking Picture Record Company, Calcutta, were acquired by The Gramophone Co., Ltd., who reissued the most popular selections on the “His Master’s Voice” in the N-16000 (10-inch) series, (from N-16819 to N-16864) in November 1947, followed by another batch (from N-16903 to N-16910) in March 1948, and the a couple of titles in the HT-325 (12-inch) series in November 1947.
The Britannia Talking Machine Co., with Mr. H.R. Betai as the Managing Director, continued in business as a distributor and wholesaler, selling off old stocks of the “Shahenshahi” label from their shop at 184 Dharamtalla Street, Calcutta, and at 407 Kalbadevi Road, Bombay well into the 1970’s.
In the early 1950’s H.R. Betai, obtained a controlling interest in The National Gramophone Record Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Bombay and sought to re-enter the sound recording business, however, within a year the ‘National’ had become essentially unworkable.
His Master’s Voice N-16819 to N-16864 (Hindi) from NA-, NC-, NO-, November 1947
His Master’s Voice N-16903 to N-16910 (Hindi) from NA, NO-, NJ- March 1948
His Master’s Voice N-16955 to N-16958 (Urdu) from NO-, June 1948
His Master’s Voice N-16973 – only (Hindi) from NO-, August 1948
His Master’s Voice HT-326 to HT-327 (Hindi) from QA-4000 series November 1947
Under the control of The Britannia Talking Machine Co., new titles were issued in the NO-3101 series
From: “The 78 r.p.m. Record Lables of India”, Page 304