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History of Tamil Cinema

History of Tamil Cinema begins in year of 1897 when a European Exhibitor at Victoria Public hall screened few silent short movies. These were nothing but photographed on day to day life. For screening of silent films Electric Theatre was established in Madras. For british community there it was a favourite haunt. This theatre was shut down after few years. Lyric Theatre at Mount road was used for musical concerts, plays as well as silent films.

Swamikannu Vincent was the person who actually gave a proper foundation and direction to Tamil cinema. He purchased a projector and few silent films and became film exhibitor. He introduced tent cinema and erected tents for this. With this mobile unit and tent cinema he travelled all over the state. He produced a talkies and built a cinema in Coimbatore in later years.

In 1909 to celebrate event of George fifth’s visit to Madras an exhibition was organised and an equipment was imported for screening of films which use to play music with silent picture. After event photographer Raghupati Venkiah Naidu purchased the equipment and established a tent cinema near madras high court. He got rich very soon and established permanent cinema in 1912.

Natraj mudiyar made keechavatnam (1917) which was first feature film of south India. He continued it with many more successful films like Draupdi vastrapaharanam in 1918, Lava Kusa in 1919, Rukmani Satyabhama in 1922 nad mahi ravana in 1923.

R.Prakash was the very first south Indian who learnt film making abroad from Barker’s motion picture studio in London. He made films like bhishm pratigya in 1923, Bhakta nandan in 1925, Lelie: star of mingrelia in 1931, Lanka dahnam in 1935 and anaadhai penn in 1938.

In 1931, the first Tamil talkie was screened. H.M. Reddy directed it and T.P. Rajlakshmi was the lead actor. In 1934, Srinivasa kalyanam first sound studio was established by A Narayanan. Srinivasa kalyanam, Rajambal, meerabai, Tenaliraman were the Tamil talkies produced in Madras studio.

K. Subramaniam is known as pioneer of south Indian cinema and he used it as a social tool for protest and to bring the change. Balyogini, bhaktcharita, sevadasan, Thyaga bhumi,  Kachcha devyani etc were his notable films. The great singer M.S. Subbalaxmi was introduced with Sevasadan.

A.V. Meiyappan was the won who introduced playback singing in South Indian cinema with his movie Nandkumar(1943). He launched his banner AVM films and produced many hit films.

In the year 1940 Gemini studios came in existence. Rajrajlochan(1973) was first cinemascope film in Tamil. The first 3D film Tamil Annai bhoomi was made in 1985 and Maveeran in 1986 was the first 70mm film. In year 1998 Producer Girdharilal Nagpal created a record by completing his movie Swayamvaram in 24 hours.

With this long history and efforts of many today Tamil Industry is second largest industry of Indian subcontinent.