Meera - 1947
Bollywood was enriched by the presence and performance of numerous figures not just from India but from abroad also. Ellis R. Dungan, an American film director, who was well known for working in Indian films, is one such persona who toiled in the rich soil of Bollywood. His 1947 film Meera, a remake of a Tamil film by the same name, was based on the life of the Hindu mystical singer and devotee of Lord Krishna Meerabai.
But the major highlight of the film was the presence of the renowned south Indian singer M.S. Subbulakshmi who did the lead role of Meerabai. In the film M.S. was introduced to the north by the nightingale of India Sarojini Naidu. The film was co-written by the legendary Kalki Krishnamurthy, writer and freedom fighter. Soon after the release she became a national celebrity.
Both M.S. and Dungan wanted to take the film in original location associated with the life of Meera. Thus the crew had to travel several holy places in North including Jaipur, Chittor, Udaipur, Brindavan and Dwarka. One of the interesting facts related to the production of this film was that Dungan, being a Christian, was not allowed to enter into the Hindu temples. But the unyielding director came in the disguise of a Kashmiri Pandit to finish his job.