(Last Updated on : 14/01/2009)
In the Karnataka cinema appeared from the period of the silent films, but the production was smaller until the 1950s and the 60s. It was because the local producers preferred to invest in more profitable languages, namely, Tamil, Telegu and Hindi. The crushing weight of the Tamil and Telegu cinematographic industries is another factor, which delayed the beginning of a true Kannada film industry. The other reasons that helped in the evolution of a separate industry were that the audience was getting tired of the supremacy of the dubbed versions of films from other regions.
Kannada films have, moreover, for a long time been shot and processed at Chennai. They were often remakes of successful films of the two neighboring states. it was performing arts and literature which gave the much needed impetus to the film industry, an influence which wi8ll be encountered in the blossoming of the Kannada art film during the closing years of the period 1960s to 80s.
In 1928 a production company, the Surya Film Company, was founded in a charming location in Bangalore by Haribhai and Boilala C Dave. It had a good technical team and made some forty films of good technical quality in 4 years. Surya Films ceased its activities with the arrival of the talkie in 1932. Around 1930-31 several individual attempts enriched regional cinema. Silent films like Demonland, Domingo, Vasanthasena and others set the pace for the industry.
Historically the first Kannada talkie distributed was Sati Sulochana (1934). It was a spectacular mythological film drawn from the Ramayana by the Telegu film director YV Rao and shot near Kolhapur. It is a characteristic of the beginnings of the Kannada talkie to resort to studios from outside the state, at Mumbai and even more at Chennai. It is estimated that out of 15 Kannada films made in the first decade of the talkie 11 where made by directors not hailing from Karnataka.
However there were filmmakers from Karnataka who made the state proud with their achievements and presented to the Indian cinema some its classic films. Today this industry is known for its superb actors who have carved niches for themselves in Indian cinema.