History of Malayalam Cinema

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  • Topic: Film, Cinema of India, Tamil cinema
  • Pages : 18 (5490 words )
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  • Published : January 30, 2013
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CONTENTS

* Kerala: the legacy of visual culture……………………….…2 * The early era (1907-1950s)……………………………….…..3 * 1950s………………………………………………..……….…6 * 1960s………………………………………………..…….……8 * The Malayalam New Wave: 1970s……………………….….10 * 1980s…………………………………………………………..15 * Golden age of Malayalam Cinema…………………..……...17 * 1990s………………………………………………..……….…19 * Early-mid 2000s……………………………………………….20 * Late 2000s………………………………………………….….21 * 2010s to the present……………………………………….…..21 * Actors……………………………………………..……………22 * Kerala State Film Awards………………………………….…23 * International Film Festival of Kerala………………………..23 * Film Studios…………………………………...…………..….23 * Organizations………………………………………………….24 * Biggest Grosser of the year from 1980……………………….25 * Reference………………………………….……………….…..26

Kerala: The Legacy of Visual Culture

Even much before the arrival of cinema, the people of Kerala were familiar with moving images on the screen through the traditional art form ‘tholpavakkuthu’ (Puppet Dance). Usually exhibited at festivals of village temples, ‘tholpavakkuthu’ uses puppets made of leather with flexible joints. These joints are moved using sticks and the shadow of these moving puppets are captured on a screen using a light source from behind, creating dramatic moving images on the screen. Stories from the mythology were told so, with accompanying dialogues and songs with traditional percussions like the Chenda. ‘Tholpavakkuthu’ uses some of the techniques widely used in cinema like the close-ups and long-shots. Apart from the art of ‘tholpavakkuthu’, which exhibits the nature of cinema, many of the folk arts and classical dance forms like ‘Kuthu’, ‘Koodiyattam’ and ‘Kathakali’ exhibits very high visual qualities in their form. May be this legacy of Kerala’s visual culture lead the filmmakers of Kerala to take up cinema in a different way, rather than mere plain storytelling, than anywhere else in India, and the people of Kerala to appreciate them.

The early era (1907-1950s)

Cinemas before the first film
The first cinema hall in Kerala, with a manually operated film projector, was opened in Thrissur by K. W. Joseph in 1907. In 1913, the first electrically operated film projector was established (inThrissur again) by Jose Kattukkaran and was called the "Jose Electrical Bioscope". Soon such cinema halls were established in other major cities of Kerala. In the early days, Tamil, Hindi andEnglish films were exhibited in these theatres.

The first film (silent movie, 1928)
The first film to be made in Malayalam was Vigathakumaran, which was released in 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, and for this work he is credited as the father of Malayalam cinema. The shooting of the first Malayalam film, the silent movie Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child), was started in 1928; the film was released in Trivandrum Capitol Theatre on November 7, 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, a businessman with no prior film experience. The plot of Vigathakumaran revolves around Chandrakumar, the son of a rich man, being kidnapped and brought up by a British man. At last he reunites with his family. Daniel founded the first film studio, 'The Travancore National Pictures Limited' in Kerala. The second film, Marthanda Varma, based on a novel by C. V. Raman Pillai, was produced by R. Sundar Raj in 1933. However, it became stranded in a legal battle over copyright issues and the court ordered the confiscation of the prints. As a result, the second movie's exhibition lasted only four days.

The first talkie (1938)
Indian cinema had already entered the talkie age even before Marthandavarma was released. Balan, the first Malayalam cinema with a sound track was released in 1938.  The film is a melodrama and was the first movie in this genre in Malayalam. Produced by Tamilian, T R Sunderam at the Modern Theatres, Balan was directed by Notani. A melodramatic film, with more Tamil influence than...
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