Centenary Of Indian Cinema

Pioneers Of Regional Cinema (South India)

The huge success of Dadasaheb Phalke‘s Film Raja Harishchandra (1913) created ripples around India and regional language creative people began learning the art of filmmaking thus started the birth of Regional Cinema in India. Indian Film History (IFH) hereunder enlighten readers about birth of cinema in South Indian languages

Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar – ‘Father Of Tamil Cinema’

The First Filmmaker to start silent films in Tamil Nadu (South India) was Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar. The first Silent Tamil Film he made was Keechaka Vadham (1918). Hence Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar is regarded as ‘Father of Tamil Cinema‘. He started “Indian Film Company Limited” in Madras in 1917. He made many films like Draupadhi Vastrapaharanam (1918), Lava Kusa (1919), Rukmini Satyabhama and Mayil Ravana. Mudaliar retired from films in 1923 shattered by the death of his son in a fire accident.

Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar died in 1972.

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu – ‘Father Of Telugu cinema’

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu is called the ‘Father of Telugu Cinema‘ as he made the First Telugu silent film Bhishma Pratigna (1921). In 1919, he started a production company called Star of East Films and a film studio called Glass Studio. Later he made many films like Anusha Adusumalli (1921). Both the films were directed by Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu and his son R. S. Prakash, who had learned the art of cinematography from England. The father-son made films like Meenakshi Kalyanam, Gajendra Moksham, Mathsyavatharam, Nandanaar, etc.

The Andhra Pradesh government started Raghupati Venkaiah Award, regarded as Telugu cinema’s highest award to recognize people for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the Telugu film industry.

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu died on 15th March 1941.

J. C. Daniel Nadar – ‘Father of Malayalam Cinema’

Joseph Chellayya Daniel Nadar popularly known as J. C. Daniel Nadar is called the ‘Father of Malayalam Cinema.’ He made the First Malayalam silent feature film called Vigathakumaran (1930). Like Dadasaheb Phalke, filmmaker  J. C. Daniel was the producer/ director/ editor/ cinematographer writer and even acted as the hero in the film. He started his film company Travancore National Pictures. He also established the first film studio in Kerala

J. C. Daniel Nadar was born on 26 February 1900. He broke the trend of making mythological films and started the trend of making films on social subjects that could bring change in society. The Government of Kerala salutes J.C. Daniel by announcing an annual Award in honor of him in 1992.

Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani – ‘Father of Kannada Cinema’

Film historian claim Mricchakatika (Vasantsena) in 1931, starring Kamaladevi as the First silent film of the Kannada film industry. However not much is known about the film except the film was directed by pioneering Kannada director, Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani.

Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani was born in Hyderabad, Sind. He was highly qualified and he  did his graduation from College of Technology, Manchester (1921), then studied film-making in Germany at UFA (1924). He was the first filmmaker to work with popular Hindi Writer Premchand and made a film Mazdoor. He produced and directed the first full-length colour film shot on 16mm Kodachrome and blown up to 35mm. He worked at Films Division and became its first Chief Producer (1948-55).

He died on 30 December 1962 in Mumbai.

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