Celebrating 75 Years of Tamil Cinema: Part II (Galatta Cinema Article)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As a continuation of my first post featuring scans from the fabulous "Celebration of 75 Years of Tamil Cinema" feature in Galatta Cinema magazine, here is a new batch of scans featuring an introduction, "From Silents to Sivaji Part 2" (Sept 2007 issue), and "Memorable Movies" post-1954 (Sept 2007). For "Memorable Movies" pre-1954 and the "From Silents to Sivaji Part 1," please see the first post of this series.  As before, I've listed things I found interesting from the articles and embedded some clips that I found.  I simply love old Tamil film music- so many of the songs are so melodious and happy, and I'm so excited to find more films and videos to watch by reading these articles. Roll the scans and videos!

Intro and "From Silents to Sivaji: Part 2" - Discusses TR Rajakumari/ Rajakumari, the first dream girl with sex appeal in South Indian cinema, who debuted in her first film release Kacha Devayani (1941).

Rajakumari can be seen starting around 1:40 in this song, "Vella Karadi Vanthu Thulluthady" from Kuleibagavally:

"Memorable Movies"

Antha Naal (1954)

Ali Babavum Narpathu Thirudargalum (1956), Nadodi Mannan (1958), Kalathur Kannamma (1960) - Kalathur Kannamma was Kamal Hassan's first film as a child star.

Kamal in Kalathur Kannamma

Kalathur Kannamma Still

Paava Mannippu (1961), Nenjil Ore Alayam (1962)

The absolutely adorable "Aththan Ennaththan" from Paava Mannippu, featuring the lovely Savitri and Devika. This song is on my favorites list!

The sugary-sweet, happy song "Muthaana Muthallavo" from Nenjil Ore Alayam, featuring Devika

Unnai Pol Oruvan (1965), Bhama Vijayam (1967), Aval Oru Thodarkathai (1974)

"Varavu Ettana Selavu Patthana" from Bhama Vijayam - A charming children's song "about the effects of over spending."

Annakili (1976), Kizhakkey Pogum Rail (1978), Oru Thalai Raagam (1980) - Annakili's songs were the first film musical compositions of Illayaraja (the legendary musical maestro beloved by South Indians). Annakili also starred Sivakumar, who I just learned recently is the father of present Tamil film stars Surya and Karthi!

"Annakkili Unnai Theduthe" from Annakili, featuring Sivakumar

The melodious "Kovil Mani Osai" from Kizhakke Poghum Rail, featuring a cute little parrot! :)

Annakili and Kizhakkey Pogum Rail Stills

Alaigal Oyevathillai (1981), Nayagan (1987)

The hit song "Kaadhal Oviyam" from Alaigal Oivathillai - check out the western wedding dress and veil!

The folksy street song "Andhi Mazhai" from Nayagan

Anjali (1991), Thalapathi (1991) - "Baby Shamili" played an autistic child in Anjali, and then recently starred in the Telugu film Oy with Siddharth.

Avvai Shanmugi (1996), Sethu (1999), Kannathil Muttham Ittaal (2002)

Pithamagan (2003)


  1. nice! what i really want is a similar one on telugu cinema, with special focus on their poets, sri sri et al, harikatha exponent-turned actors and their singing dramatic stge scene and its evolution.

    Notable misses in this article kannadasan , gemini ganesan, the tamil language revival, mahendran, the tamil new wave, ilayaraja, and k balachandar. (id also include silk smitha, but thats me.)

  2. and t r rajakumari looked her best in sivakavi '43 or haridas '44.(try and find kavalaiai teerpathu nattiya kalaye or manmada leelaiyai venrar undo) . Im unable to find it on youtube.

  3. ramesh- I agree, maybe I will pester Allu Sirish about doing a Telugu version in SouthScope. :) Interested to hear more about this "tamil language revival" as I've heard this referenced in some comments elsewhere.

  4. Menai,

    I wonder if allu sirish is related to alluri seetaramraju ;) but seriously? if you have to talk to someone in the family, talk to the younger sibling and don't waste your wish on some lame scholarly article about harikatha and srisri haha.

    Tamil revival is the period of tamil cinema (of kodambakkam) about the time of indian independane when it stopped representing **all** of madras presidency (which comprised the four southern states in india) and became the vox Tamil-ii.

    that period of history needs a long detailed blog post all on its own, but this was a representative song frm movies made then.


    features your fvorite saroja devi too

  5. Ramesh - Interesting! So prior the late 1940s, were the southern industries outside of Tamil Nadu underdeveloped and thus Tamil cinema was representative of the "south" at that time? I may need a geography/history lesson too, as I'm not sure what states/boundaries were prior to independence down in the south. Rhetorical question as I'm sure it would take, as you say, a verrrry long blog post to sort out. :) Thanks for the insight!

  6. Yeah,

    Theres plenty of history.(needs a lifetime. have? ;) ) but a capsule version is there are four states in the south of India, Tamil nadu, Kerela, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. hese comprised a British Indian administrative unit called the Madras Presidency.

    When India became independent, they reorganized staes on the basis of language. This was greeted with howls of anguish because while it gave very great scope for linguistic chauvinism, most business had been done( and much land holding was) irrespective of what language you spoke( for instance there were telugu landlords and cheftains in tamil nadu ( the AVM family which made films in chennai are telugu, for instance.) and tamil aristocrats in bangalore and the mysore court.

    As a result of this partition, films tried to put a brave "united" front. often the same films would be dubbed in all four (or at least three) states and people like N T Rama rao lived in chennai. I remember when i was young, watching busloads of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh with shorn heads come to chennai to get a sighting of NTR (whom they sincerely believed, was lord krishna, the god he played in movies)

    But soon a new breed of intellectual and artist started dominating the local linguistic film industry. this was a language based son of the soil whose mesmerizing rhetoric brought more people than imaginable under its thrall.

    Two of the four linguistic states elected chief ministers who were part of the language chauvenism based movements in arts.

    Also meant that now, film industries had to separate out , like the scion of joint family setting up their own homesteads instead of living like a big happy unwieldy joint family , under one roof.

  7. Celebrating 75 Years of Tamil Cinema.Find More Detainls in Telugu News.


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