Acting in film was unimaginable for Indian actresses until the late 1920s. At that time, cinema was considered unfit for any “virtuous” woman. Actors in Indian films during the silent film era would cross-dress, shave their mustaches and wear sarees. Finally women entered Bollywood. But they were neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, the were Jewish.
Indian Jewish women, with their fair skin and more European stye, became popular on screen. Thus, Suzanne Solomon, better known by her stage name Firoza Begum, Sulochana ( born Ruby Meyers), the first Miss India, Pramila ( born Esther Abraham), or even Nadira (Florence Ezekiel). But the contribution of Jewish in the rise of Bollywood was not limited to actresses. The screenplay and songs of the first Indian talkie film, Alam Ara (1931), were written by Joseph Penkar David, a Jewish. David Harman, one of Bollywood’s greatest choreographers, was Jewish. One of the male stars of Indian cinema, David Abraham Cheulkar acted in more than 100 films.