R.G. Torney (1890 – 1960)


R.G. Torney

Ramchandra Gopal Torney – Hindi and Marathi director; born in Sukulwadi and educated in Malwan, coastal Maharashtra. Employed by Greaves Cotton Electrical in Bombay (1896); then transferred as a branch manager to Karachi. Resigned and returned to Bombay (1920). He is often cited as Dada Saheb Phalke’s rival for having apparently made the feature Pundalik (1912) a year before Raja Harishchandra (1913). Recent research suggests that it was probably made by N.G. Chitre, the owner of Coronation Cinematograph (which released Raja Harishchandra) with P.R. Tipnis, Coronation’s manager and later noted exhibitor in Delhi.

Torney was initially manager of Laxmi Film (1924-6) and Imperial (1927-31). Debut film, as co-director, was the commercial hit Neera (1926). Partnered distributor Baburao Pai whey the latter launched the Movie Camera Co. (1931) to import Audio-Camex recording equipment which they installed in Saraswati, Prabhat and Aryan studios. Took over Saraswati Film in Pune (1931), started as a technicians’ enterprise by Nanubhai Desai, Bhogilal Dave, Dorabsha Kolha and others in 1926. Saraswati Cinetone closed down in 1942 after an unsuccessful move into Hindi cinema. Torney made Marathi comedies in late 30s and early 40s, often starring comedian Dinkar Kamanna. Made films for his own studios, Imperial, Sagar and Sikandar; also art direction and sound recording for some early Marathi talkies. Scripted Madanrai Vakil’s Mewad No Mawali (1930).

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