This chapter is a study of New Theatres Ltd. in the period 1931-1941, the first decade of sound in Indian cinema. In this period, New Theatres was Bengal’s premier studio, and acquired the reputation for producing films that were marked by a distinctive ethos of ‘cultured Bengaliness’, putting in perspective the discourses of a superior ‘Bengali’ cinema which had first emerged in the 1920s. At the same time, however, New Theatres also provided the model for a ‘national’ cinema. ‘NT’, as New Theatres was popularly known, had two distinct credits that placed it in the top league of Indian talkie studios. The first was its credentials as the progenitor of art in Indian films, the other its standing in the ‘all-India’ market for Hindi-Urdu films. For New Theatres, the elitist Bengali vision of film art co-existed with parallel production strategies, which allowed it to address a wider cross-section of cinema audiences. It was a balance that derived from the twin agenda of making films more acceptable as a middle-class entertainment and of making the most of the commercial possibilities of the talkie era. In the process, New Theatres became the prototype for a ‘national’ cinema.