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Home > Articles > History Of Birth And Growth Of Telugu Cinema

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

History Of Birth And Growth Of Telugu Cinema (Part 6)

Chittoor V Nagaiah - Veteran Telugu and Tamil film artiste.
With the emergence of social cinema, the number of artistes playing roles in mythological films dwindled. New artistes began surfacing. Notable among them were Chittoor V Nagaiah, Bhanumathi, YV Rao, Kannamba, Kamala Kotnis and a few others. Kanchanamala too joined the main stream of Telugu cinema at that time. But she was on the third rung, as mythological films dominated then. But the moment social cinema emerged, she surged to the top. She became a super star overnight. She became a sensation and was called Greta Garbo of the East. Greta Garbo of Hollywood cinema was then considered as the greatest film actress on earth. Kanchanamala too became a top actress of Telugu cinema. With this era of socials, new companies also came up and new artistes were born. Gudavalli Ramabrahmam, who was till then getting trained in Vel Pictures, launched his own 'Sarathi Films' and made 'Malapilla'. It was released in 1938 and became a hit. Thus 'Gruhalakshmi' and 'Malapilla' became trendsetters in one way. The emergence of Rohini and Sarathi banners and their success encouraged others to take to film production. It became a business proposition, by itself. Yet they never lost the sense of social responsibility. Among them was BN Reddy. He worked in HM Reddy's 'Gruhalakshmi'. He then launched his own 'Vauhini Productions' in 1938.

At that time YV Rao was managing a Tamil production made under the banner of Royal Talkies. BN Reddy made 'Vandemataram' and YV Rao made 'Malli Pelli', both in 1939. Both were hits. That was how a strong foundation was laid for social films. Later, YV Rao too started a film unit named 'Chintamani Pictures'.

YV Rao - A revolutionary filmmaker.
C Pullaiah was then making films in Calcutta for the East India Company. He came to Madras and made 'Varavikrayam' for the same company - East India. Mirjapuram Raja made 'Jeevana Jyothi' in Jaya Film Studio, in 1940. It was a social. Thus many production companies emerged and made importance socials. With them came other great names on the technical and creative branches of the industry. Writers Samudrala, Gopichand and Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao, musicians Rajeswara Rao, Chittoor V Nagiah and BNR and artistes LV Prasad, Kasturi Siva Rao, Krishnamurthy, Bezavada Rajaratnam, Suryakumari, Malathi and many more were introduced to Telugu screen, during this time. This was also the period when Telugu found its strong roots in Chennai. That was the beginning of the era of Telugu cinema in Chennai. Rohini, Vauhini, Sarathi, Jagadish began making quality films with lesser investment. It was said that payments made to the artistes and technicians, even by production companies like Rohini and Vauhini, were less. They were keeping some of the important artistes under their control by entering into contract. Thus they kept them under their control. Jagadish Pictures' 'Malli Pelli' costed them just Rs.60,000 only.

That was the time when a new banner 'Gemini' was born. Gemini is the name of a race horse on which SS Vasan, its owner made big money. Therefore he named his studio after it. This happened in 1942. He made films 'Jeevanamukti' and 'Balanagamma'. They recorded great success, specially 'Balanagamma' with Govindarajula Subba Rao and Banda Kanakalingeswara Rao in main roles. This was the film that brought name to Kanchanamala who was booked to play the title role. Vasan decided to make more films and began booking top artistes for any rate they demanded. And he put everyone in contract. This was a business tactic, as was already said, to keep the other producers away from his artistes. Kanchanamala was the highest paid actress under his contract. The other studios, therefore, could not book her.

To Be Continued...