(Last Updated on : 08/03/2017)
The new invention in India, cinema, soon spread like wildfire in the south, especially in the 'Madras Presidency
.' The first theatre in the city was opened around 1900 and was known as the Electric Theatre. It was opened by an Englishman, Major Warwick. The people from South India added a lot of modifications to the existing equipments. In this respect Raghupati Venkaiah, a photographer from Chennai
must be mentioned.
He had set up teams of travelling projectionists who presented shows using a procedure he had invented. He attached a projector to a gramophone. He used this particular method to tour all over India. He was the person who set up Gaiety Theatre, the Crown and The Globe. Initially the films shown were short American or English films. Feature films made in Mumbai reached Madras or Chennai by 1912.
Venkaiah's son, Raghupati Surya Prakash also started the 'Star of the East Film Company. He also went onto direct films. In 1921 he also set up The Glass Studio in Madras and merged it with the very first film company in the south, the Indian Film Company. The latter was founded by Nataraja Mudaliar in 1915. Prakash also got with Narayanan to form a company for distributing films.
As far as production in south is concerned with the increasing sophistication in technical know-how, about 110 silent films were produced until 1932, out of which 73 were made in Chennai. The last silent Tamil film was Vishnu Lila.
Influences on Madras Presidency
The Madras presidency was divided into many linguistic States, such as Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu
. The dissection marked the commencement of a new era in South Indian cinema. By 1936, the crowd appeal of film allowed directors to move away from religious and mythological themes and touching on societal difficulties and problems like the status of Untouchables and the perform of giving dowry, Telugu films increasingly focused on contemporary living, at that time 29 of the 96 films released between 1937 and 1947 had social themes.