From: Ian McIver, July 2006
The Wurlitzer Style 190 was installed in 1928 in the Elphinstone Picture Palace (owned by Mr Madan)
in the smarter European area of Calcutta. It probably didn't have much of an indigenous clientele.
The theatre still exists (now known as the Chaplin), but the organ has long ago disappeared.
The Elphinstone was the first in India with sound films, in early 1930. Madan's sons sold the theatre
along with most of the rest of their circuit in 1933 to another operator.
It was rebuilt substantially in the 1950s or 1960s.
There were very few organ techinicians left in India after indepedence, but I imagine the instrument
had fallen out of use long before then. By the 1950s, the few church organs in India were in a
pitiful state, according to contemporary accounts. There would have been no second-hand market even
if someone had been able to move and re-erect the instrument.
A few other theatres in India, notably those built by MGM, had organ chambers provided, but as far as is known,
there were no other organs installed.
Portable reed organs were and are a characteristic of much Indian music, so these were likely to have been
used in local orchestras accompanying silent films.
HNB had a factory or works of some kind in India for a while around 1930, but no Christies are recorded
as having made it to the sub-continent. Some ecclesiastical HNB instruments were sent out frm the UK.
for their outpost to instal.
Hamond organs arrived in India in the late 30s and were installed in some churches and cathedrals.