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History Of Birth And Growth Of Telugu Cinema (Part 4)
Hanumappa Muniappa Reddy made the first Telugu talkie 'Bhakta Prahlada', in 1931. This was made in Kolhapur. HM Reddy also directed 'Kalidas' in Tamil, which was screened first. This was South's first talkie. And the first Telugu talkie was 'Bhakta Prahlada'. By then Surabhi theater was very active. Surabhi is now 120-year-old theatre. Most of the mythological were their output. For that matter Dharmavaram Rama Krishnamacharyulu wrote 'Bhakta Prahlada' for them. And this was converted into 108-minute cinema. Close-up shots were vividly used. There were plenty of close-up shots. One C Kesavadasu was said to have added songs and verses in addition to what were already existing. Krishna Rao, who was a boy then, played Bhakta Prahlada. It was said that this first hero and child artiste had to struggle in old age. The film industry and artistes helped him. Munipalle Venkata Subba Rao played Hiranya Kasipa, Kamalabai was Leelavati. LV Prasad a budding talent then played the comic role of Chandamarkulu. HR Padmanabha Sastry was the music director and Govardhan Bhai Patel was its cinematographer. This first Telugu talkie also took credit for being the very first box office hit. This was the story of 1931.
|A rare portrait of Akkineni Lakshmi Varaprasada Rao, popularly known as LV Prasad.|
In 1932 'Paduka Pattabhishekam' and 'Sakuntala' were made in Sagar Movietone Studios of Bombay. Yadavalli Suryanarayana and Surabhi Kamalabai played main roles. They were stalwarts of that era. Ramatilakam and Mangalagiri Sriranjani were introduced through these films. 80 Telugu films were made in the first five years. The subjects were all mythological. They were taken from stage. Therefore, even these films looked more like stage drama. Krittiventi Nageswara Rao made first social 'Prema Vijayam' (1936). This was a milestone in Telugu cinema. And its success led some more filmmakers take to socials. Dr PV Pathi made a comedy 'Comedy in Paris'. It was of one thousand feet film. This was considered as the first documentary made by a Telugu man in a foreign land. In 1936 Pathi made first commentary oriented educational film. This was also a thousand feet film. He added graphs and maps as part of the documentary.
Till 1934, films were being made in Bombay, Culcutta and Kolhapur. None constructed a studio of their own in Madras. In 1934, PV Das of Machilipatnam constructed Vel Pictures in Guindi at Madras. He transported the material for this from Machilipatnam to Madras through Buckingham canal. The first film made in Telugu's own studio was 'Sita Kalyanam' (1934). After the closure of Vel Pictures, Narasu Studios came up. In 1935 GK Mangaraju opened the first film distribution company with Visakhapatnam as its head quarters. That was named as Quality Pictures.
To Be Continued...