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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 7)

The re-emergence of social film at the end of the Second World War paved way for the progress of Telugu cinema with new people taking to filmmaking. That was from October 1946, when the control on 'raw film', was lifted. During war there was scarcity for the raw film and the length of the films was fixed to 11,000 ft. On July 17, 1943 the government of India ordered this limit by a GO. The moment it was withdrawn in 1946 October, the first film that was released was Chittoori V. Nagaiah's 'Thyagayya', produced by Vauhini. The length of the film shot up to 16,700 ft.

Now that all the producers began feeling a bit relaxed with the loosening of the rule, they began thinking of new ways to entertain the audience. They added a variety of attractions, like huge settings, thrills, magic and fantasy. You can add all these things only if you make folklore. In 1942 Gemini's 'Balanagamma', recorded great success because of all these elements in it. Since then the socials began losing initiative. But there was encouragement in Tamil market for socials. But the nativity of Telugu films tradition and culture looked different from Tamils. Therefore they did not get the patronage of Tamils. That was also the reason why folklores picked up. Among the six films released in 1947, two were folklore. One is 'Ratnamala' and the other is 'Gollabhama'. Both were hits at the box office. There was no social film at all in 1947. Three were socials in 1948 and only 'Drohi' was the hit. 'Geethanjali' and 'Suvarnamala' did not do well. Other folklore films did well. 'Balaraju' was one of them and it became the greatest box office hit. 'Gollabhama' and 'Balaraju' made big profits. These films also encouraged other producers to make folklore films. Among the six released in 1949, except 'Laila Majnu' and 'Manadesam' others were folklore. Of them 'Gunasundari Katha' and 'Keelugurram' made big money at the box office. The producer of 'Keelugurram', Mirjapuram Raja, made the film a big hit. It was dubbed into Tamil with the title 'Maya Kuthirai'. But the dubbing lacked proper lip synchronization with the dialogue. Hence it lost charm. It did not do well as much as the Telugu original did. Even the translation into Tamil was bad.

Sri Sri - A pioneer in revolutionary poetry.
From this experience some producers began assessing the results of dubbing. To make dubbing the producer had to spend nearly a lakh rupees. If they spend another one lakh they could make a direct take. This would also help the presentation of a language properly. This kind of logic resulted in the emergence of making of two language films simultaneously. They could comfortably market them not only in India but abroad too like in countries like Ceylon, Burma and other countries where Tamil films enjoy good market. They could also capture the total South Indian market. Added to this 'Ahuti' (a telugu dubbed version of the Hindi film 'Neera Aur Nanda') in 1950, was a big flop. Sri Sri, a pioneer in revolutionary poetry in Telugu, entered into Telugu cinema with 'Ahuti'. That sealed the fate of dubbing films at that time. Producers resorted to make two language films since then. In 1950 'Apoorva Sahodarulu' of Gemini, Pakshi Raja Studios' 'Beedala Patlu', Kempraj's 'Raja Vikrama', AVM's 'Jeevitham' were all two language films made in Tamil and Telugu. 'Swapnasundari' and 'Laila Majnu' were also made in Tamil. There were in all 19 Telugu films in 1950. Vijaya's first film 'Shaocar' was also made that year. This trend of making films in two languages simultaneously created a new culture of exchange of Telugu and Tamil artistes into both the language films. But trouble arose in expression in alien language. AVM's 'Jeevitham' with TR Ramachandran in the role of Telugu poet is an example. Ramachandran's language expression murdered Telugu and the film. They brought pressure on producers not to do so. They replaced the voice of non-Telugu artistes with Telugu dubbing. Thus, the sound track of Telugu spoken by Telugu persons is added. The Tamils could not shine in Telugu cinema. But Telugus could impress Tamil audience. But Telugu people also lost interest in Tamil language films. Telugu producers stopped making films with Tamil artistes. But this kind of two-language filmmaking could continue upto 1953 only.

The momentum of filmmaking picked up between 1949 and 1953. To meet this demand, there arose the need of more studios. There came up studios like Vauhini, Bharani, Rohini and Prakash. Even after 1953, two-language filmmaking continued because of persons who had own studios and distribution companies. Those who did not have these facilities could only go for dubbing. 'Maa Gopi' and 'Vipranarayana' were dubbed into Tamil. Among others 'Avvayyar' and 'Yatrik' had Telugu commentary. 30 Telugu films were released in 1954. The exodus of independent producers began in 1950 itself. Their job is to produce a film mustering the crew and artistes and make them in others' studios. The number of such filmmakers went up in 1951. These were all persons who made money in other lines of business. And some were those who could not invest in liquor trade because of prohibition. They diverted the money into filmmaking. Some were landlords who got attracted to that Maya called cinema. They sold their properties and migrated to Madras. Quite a few started new film companies to launch their productions. The production figure went up. The new producers wanted to make films with lesser investment and in quicker time.

In 1952 the first International Film Festival of India was held in Mumbai. Pioneer filmmaker Cecil B. Demille sent a film that was not released yet anywhere. That was inaugurated in this festival. Many countries took part. India's entry was 'Patala Bhairavi' in Telugu and 'Awara' in Hindi. 'Patala Bhairavi', directed by KV Reddy for Vijaya banner, was the only South Indian entry. Noted film personalities like Bimal Roy and Ranjit were present. Bimal Roy's 'Do Bheega Zamin' and 'Hum Log' received applause.

To Be Continued...