|No. of screens||1671 (Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry)|
|Main distributors|| AVM Productions |
Thenandal Studio Limited
Red Giant Movies
|Produced feature films (2017)|
Tamil cinema, also known as Kollywood, is the Indian filmmaking industry of Tamil-language motion pictures. It is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu,in the Kodambakkam neighbourhood, leading to the industry's nickname Kollywood, the word being a portmanteau of Kodambakkam and Hollywood .
The first Tamil silent film, Keechaka Vadham , was made by R. Nataraja Mudaliar in 1918.The first talking motion picture, Kalidas , was a multilingual film directed by H M Reddy and was released on 31 October 1931, less than seven months after India's first talking motion picture Alam Ara . By the end of the 1930s, the legislature of the State of Madras passed the Entertainment Tax Act of 1939.
Tamil cinema later had a profound effect on other filmmaking industries of India, establishing Madras (now Chennai) as a secondary hub for Hindi cinema, other South Indian film industries, as well as Sri Lankan cinema.Over the last quarter of the 20th century, Tamil films from India established a global presence through distribution to an increasing number of overseas theatres in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan, the Middle East, parts of Africa, Oceania, Europe, North America and other countries. The industry also inspired independent filmmaking in Sri Lanka and Tamil diaspora populations in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Western Hemisphere.
|Life in Tamil Nadu|
In 1897, M. Edwards first screened a selection of silent short films at the Victoria Public Hall in Madras. The films all featured non-fictional subjects; they were mostly photographed records of day-to-day events. The film scholar Stephen Hughes points out that within a few years there were regular ticketed shows in a hall in Pophams Broadway, started by one Mrs. Klug, but this lasted only for a few months. Once it was demonstrated as a commercial proposition, a Western entrepreneur, Warwick Major, built the first cinema theatre, the Electric Theatre, which still stands. It was a favourite haunt of the British community in Madras. The theatre was shut down after a few years. This building is now part of a post office complex on Anna Salai (Mount Road). The Lyric Theatre was also built in the Mount Road area. This venue boasted a variety of events, including plays in English, Western classical music concerts, and ballroom dances. Silent films were also screened as an additional attraction.Swamikannu Vincent, a railway draftsman from Tiruchirapalli, became a travelling exhibitor in 1905. He showed short movies in a tent in Esplanade, near the present Parry's Corner, using carbide jet-burners for projection. He bought the film projector and silent films from the Frenchman Du Pont and set up a business as film exhibitor. Soon, he tied up with Path, a well-known pioneering film-producing company, and imported projectors. This helped new cinema houses to sprout across the presidency. In later years, he produced talkies and also built a cinema in Coimbatore.
To celebrate the event of King George V's visit in 1909, a grand exhibition was organised in Madras. Its major attraction was the screening of short films accompanied by sound. A British company imported a Crone megaphone, made up of a film projector to which a gramophone with a disc containing prerecorded sound was linked, and both were run in unison, producing picture and sound simultaneously. However, there was no synched dialogue. Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu, a successful photographer, took over the equipment after the exhibition and set up a tent cinema near the Madras High Court.With this equipment, he screened the short films Pearl Fish and Raja's Casket in the Victoria Public Hall. When this proved successful, he screened the films in a tent set up in Esplanade. These tent events were the true precursors of the cinema shows. Venkiah travelled with this unit to Burma (now Myanmar) and Sri Lanka, and when he had gathered enough money, he put up a permanent cinema house in Madras—Gaiety, in 1914, the first cinema house in Madras to be built by an Indian. He soon added two more, Crown Theatre in Mint and Globe (later called Roxy) in Purasawalkam.
Swamikannu Vincent, who had built the first cinema of South India in Coimbatore, introduced the concept of "Tent Cinema" in which a tent was erected on a stretch of open land close to a town or village to screen the films. The first of its kind was established in Madras, called "Edison's Grand Cinemamegaphone". This was due to the fact that electric carbons were used for motion picture projectors.
Most of the films screened then were shorts made in the United States and Britain. In 1909, an Englishman, T. H. Huffton, founded Peninsular Film Services in Madras and produced some short films for local audiences. But soon, hour-long films, which narrated dramatic stories, then known as "drama films", were imported. From 1912 onwards, feature films made in Bombay (now Mumbai) were also screened in Madras. The era of short films had ended. The arrival of drama films firmly established cinema as a popular entertainment form. More cinema houses came up in the city.
Fascinated by this new entertainment form, an automobile dealer in the Thousand Lights area of Madras, R. Nataraja Mudaliyar, decided to venture into film production. After a few days' training in Pune with the cinematographer Stewart Smith, the official cinematographer of Lord Curzon's 1903 Durbar, he started a film production concern in 1916.
The man who truly laid the foundations of south Indian cinema was A. Narayanan. After a few years in film distribution, he set up a production company in Madras, the General Pictures Corporation, popularly known as GPC. Beginning with The Faithful Wife/Dharmapathini (1929), GPC made about 24 feature films. GPC functioned as a film school and its alumni included names such as Sundara Rao Nadkarni and Jiten Banerji. The studio of GPC was housed in the Chellapalli bungalow on Thiruvottiyur High Road in Madras. This company, which produced the most Tamil silent films, had branches in Colombo, Rangoon and Singapore.
The Ways of Vishnu/Vishnu Leela, which R. Prakasa made in 1932, was the last silent film produced in Madras. Unfortunately, the silent era of south Indian cinema has not been documented well. When the talkies appeared, film producers had to travel to Bombay or Calcutta to make films. Most films of this early period were celluloid versions of well-known stage plays. Company dramas were popular among the Madras audience. The legendary Otraivadai drama theatre had been built in 1872 itself in Mint. Many drama halls had come up in the city where short silent films were screened in the afternoon and plays were enacted in the night.
The scene changed in 1934 when Madras got its first sound studio. By this time, all the cinema houses in Madras had been wired for sound. Narayanan, who had been active during the silent era, founded Srinivasa Cinetone in which his wife worked as the sound recordist. Srinivasa Kalyanam (1934), directed by Narayanan, was the first sound film (talkie) produced in Madras. The second sound studio to come up in Madras was Vel Pictures, started by M. D. Rajan on Eldams Road in the Dunmore bungalow, which belonged to the Raja of Pithapuram. Before long, more sound studios came up. Thirty-six talkies were made in Madras in 1935.
The main impacts of the early cinema were the cultural influences of the country. The Tamil-language was the medium in which many plays and stories were written since the ages as early as the Cholas. They were highly stylised and nature of the spectacle was one which could attract the people. Along with this, music and dance were one of the main entertainment sources.
There is a strong Indian tradition of narrating mythology, history, fairy tales and so on through song and dance. Whereas Hollywood filmmakers strove to conceal the constructed nature of their work so that the realistic narrative was wholly dominant, Indian filmmakers made no attempt to conceal the fact that what was shown on the screen was a creation, an illusion, a fiction. However, they demonstrated how this creation intersected with people's day-to-day lives in complex ways.By the end of the 1930s, the State of Madras legislature passed the Entertainment Tax Act 1939.
In 1916, a studio, the first in south India,[ citation needed ] was set up in Madras at 10 Millers Road, Kilpauk. He called it the India Film Company. Rangavadivelu, an actor from Suguna Vilasa Sabha, a theatre company then, was hired to train the actors. Thirty-five days later, the first feature film made in south India, The Extermination of Keechakan/Keechakavatham, based on an episode from the Mahabharata, was released produced and directed by R. Nataraja, who established the India Film Company Limited (The Destruction of Keechaka).
Despite a century of increasing box office takings, Tamil cinema remains informal and dominated by shell companies, or one-film wonders, born and dead in a matter of months. Nevertheless, there are few exceptions like Modern Theatres, Gemini Studios, AVM and Sri Thenandal Films that survived beyond 100 productions.
In 2017, opposing the dual taxation of GST (28%) and entertainment tax (30%), Tamilnadu Theatre Owners Association announced indefinite closure of all cinemas in the state from 3 July 2017.The strike has been called off and the cinemas will be playing the movies starting Friday 7 July 2017. Government has formed a committee to decide on the existence of state's 30% entertainment tax. It's reported that, per day business loss during the strike was around ₹ 20 crores.
Annual admissions in Chennai multiplexes and single screens averaged 11 million tickets with a standard deviation of ±1 million tickets during 2011–16. The Chennai film industry produced the first nationally distributed film across India in 1948 with Chandralekha . They have one of the widest overseas distribution, with large audience turnout from the Tamil diaspora. They are distributed to various parts of Asia, Africa, Western Europe, North America and Oceania.
Many successful Tamil films have been remade by other film industries. It is estimated by the Manorama Yearbook 2000 (a popular almanac) that over 5,000 Tamil films were produced in the 20th century. Tamil films have also been dubbed into other languages, thus reaching a much wider audience. There has been a growing presence of English in dialogue and songs in Chennai films. It is not uncommon to see movies that feature dialogue studded with English words and phrases, or even whole sentences. Some movies are also simultaneously made in two or three languages (either using subtitles or several soundtracks). Chennai's film composers have popularised their highly unique, syncretic style of film music across the world. Quite often, Tamil movies feature Madras Tamil, a colloquial version of Tamil spoken in Chennai.
|Territory||Maximum Business (%)||Division|
|NSC||100||6 Northern districts – Cuddalore, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and Viluppuram|
|Coimbatore||50||4 Western districts – Coimbatore, Erode, Nilgiris and Tiruppur|
|Chennai||37||1 Northern district – Chennai|
|MR||35||6 Southern districts – Dindigul, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Theni and Virudhunagar|
|TT||32||8 Central districts – Ariyalur, Karur, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli and Tiruvarur|
|Salem||28||4 Western districts – Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal and Salem|
|TK||13||3 Southern districts – Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari|
|Rest of India||15|
|USA and Canada||119|
|Rest of the world||89|
Keechaka Vadham (1918) was the first silent film made in South India.Kalidas (1931) was the first Tamil talkie film made in 1931. Kalava was the first full-length talkie made entirely in Tamil. Nandanar (1935) was the first film for American film director Ellis R. Dungan. Balayogini released in 1937 was considered to be first children's film of South India. It is estimated by the Manorama Yearbook 2000 (a popular almanac) that over 5,000 Tamil films were produced in the 20th century. Tamil films have also been dubbed into other languages, thus reaching a much wider audience. There has been a growing presence of English in dialogue and songs in Chennai films.
In 1991, Marupakkam directed by K.S. Sethu Madhavan, became the first Tamil film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, the feat was repeated by Kanchivaram in 2007.Tamil films enjoy significant patronage in neighbouring Indian states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and New Delhi. In Kerala and Karnataka the films are directly released in Tamil but in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh they are generally dubbed into Telugu where they have a decent market.
Tamil films have enjoyed consistent popularity among populations in South East Asia. Since Chandralekha , Muthu was the second Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese (as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja million in 1998. In 2010, Enthiran grossed a record $4 million in North America.) and grossed a record $1.6
Many Tamil-language films have premiered or have been selected as special presentations at various film festivals across the globe, such as Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal , Vasanthabalan's Veyyil and Ameer Sultan's Paruthiveeran . Kanchivaram (2009) was selected to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tamil films have been a part of films submitted by India for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language on eight occasions, next only to Hindi.Mani Ratnam's Nayakan (1987) was included in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies list.
Average annual film output in Tamil film industry peaked in 1985. The Tamil film market accounts for approximately 0.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the state of Tamil Nadu.For the purpose of entertainment taxes, returns have to be filed by the exhibitors weekly (usually each Tuesday).
The Government of Tamil Nadu made provisions for an entertainment tax exemption for Tamil films having titles in words from the Tamil-language only.This is in accordance with Government Order 72 passed on 22 July 2006. The first film to be released after the new Order was Unakkum Enakkum . The original title had been Something Something Unakkum Ennakkum, a half-English and a half-Tamil title. In July 2011, strict norms on entertainment tax were passed which stated that films which were given a "U" certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification alone were eligible for tax exemption and those with an "A" certificate could not fit into this category.
There are three major roles in the Tamil film value chain viz producer, distributor and exhibitor.The distributor purchases theatrical distribution rights from the producer for exhibiting the film in a defined territory. The distributor performs enhanced functions such as:
There are three popular approaches to transfer of distribution rights via distribution contracts:
There are four popular approaches to transfer of exhibition rights via exhibition contracts:
|2020||Darbar||AR Murugadoss||Lyca Productions|
|2018||2.0||S. Shankar||Lyca Productions|
|2017||Baahubali 2: The Conclusion||S. S. Rajamouli||Arka Media Works|
|2015||Baahubali: The Beginning||S.S. Rajamouli||Arka Media Works|
|2014||Lingaa||K.S. Ravikumar||Eros International|
|2013||Vishwaroopam||Kamal Haasan||Raaj Kamal Films International|
|2012||Thuppaki||A.R. Murugadoss||V. Creations|
|2011||Mankatha||Venkat Prabhu||Cloud Nine Movies|
|2010||Enthiran||S. Shankar||Sun Pictures|
|2009||Ayan||K.V. Anand||AVM Productions|
|2008||Dasavathaaram||K.S. Ravikumar||Aascar Film Pvt. Ltd|
|2007||Sivaji||S. Shankar||AVM Productions|
|2006||Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu||Gautham Vasudev Menon||Manickam Narayanan|
|2005||Chandramukhi||P. Vasu||Sivaji Productions|
|2004||Ghilli||Dharani||Sri Surya Movies|
|2000||Vaanathaippola||Vikraman||Aascar Film Pvt. Ltd|
|1999||Padayappa||K.S. Ravikumar||Arunachala Cine Creations|
|1997||Arunachalam *||Sundar C.||Annamalai Cine Combines|
|1996||Indian||S.Shankar||Sri Surya Movies|
|1995||Baashha||Suresh Krissna||Sathya Movies|
|1994||Nattamai||K.S. Ravikumar||Super Good Films|
|1993||Walter Vetrivel *||P. Vasu||Kamalam Movies|
|1989||Apoorva Sagodharargal||Singeetam Srinivasa Rao||Raaj Kamal Films International|
|1985||Padikkadavan *||Rajasekhar||Sri Eswari Productions|
|1984||Nallavanuku Nallavan *||SP. Muthuraman||AVM Productions|
|1982||Sakalakala Vallavan *||SP. Muthuraman||AVM Productions|
|1981||Sattam Oru Iruttarai *||S. A. Chandrasekhar||Vadularan Combines|
|1980||Guru||I. V. Sasi||Shiv Sakthi Films|
|1978||Sigappu Rojakkal||J. Padmavathi||K.R.G. Productions|
|1972||Vasantha Maligai||K. S. Prakash Rao||Vijaya Suresh Combines|
|1971||Rickshawkaran *||M. Krishnan Nair||Sathya Movies|
|1968||Thillana Mohanambal||A. P. Nagarajan||Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures|
|1966||Anbe Vaa *||A. C. Tirulokchandar||AVM Productions|
|1965||Thiruvilaiyadal||A. P. Nagarajan||Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures|
|1959||Veerapandiya Kattabomman||B. R. Panthulu||Padmini Pictures|
|1956||Madurai Veeran||D. Yoganand||Krishna Pictures|
|1955||Missiamma *||L. V. Prasad||Vijaya Vauhini Studios|
|1954||Malaikkallan||S. M. Sriramulu Naidu||Pakshiraja Studios|
|1952||Parasakthi||Krishnan–Panju||P. A. Perumal Mudaliar|
|1949||Apoorva Sagodharargal *||Acharya||Gemini Studios|
|1948||Chandralekha||S. S. Vasan||Gemini Studios|
Film studios in Chennai are bound by legislation, such as the Cinematography Film Rules of 1948, ₹50, while theatres with more than three screens may charge a maximum of ₹120 per ticket.the Cinematography Act of 1952, and the Copyright Act of 1957. In Tamil Nadu, cinema ticket prices are regulated by the government. Single screen theatres may charge a maximum of
Chennai (, Tamil: [ˈt͡ɕenːaɪ̯]; also known as Madras, is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, it is the largest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India.
Rajinikanth, is an Indian actor, film producer and screenwriter who works primarily in Tamil cinema. He has won many awards including, four Tamil Nadu State Film Best Actor Awards and a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. The Government of India has honored him with the Padma Bhushan (2000) and the Padma Vibhushan (2016). He received the Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema at the 4th Vijay Awards. At the 45th International Film Festival of India (2014), he was conferred with the "Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year". At the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (2019), he was honoured with the Icon of Global Jubilee award. He is the second-highest grossing actor in Tamil cinema history, behind M. G. Ramachandran. At the 67th National Film Awards, he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar, known mononymously as Vijay, is an Indian actor, dancer, playback singer and philanthropist who works predominantly in Tamil cinema and also appeared in other Indian languages films. Vijay is the highest paid actor in south India. He has significant fan following globally and has acted in 64 films as a lead actor. He has won won numerous awards, including eight Vijay Awards by Star India, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards by Government of Tamil Nadu, and a SIIMA Award. He has been included several times in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, based on the earnings of Indian celebrities.
Trisha Krishnan, known mononymously as Trisha, is an Indian actress and model, who primarily works in Tamil and Telugu language films. She was noticed after winning several beauty pageants like the Miss Chennai contest (1999), which marked her entry into the film industry.
Sivaji: The Boss is a 2007 Indian Tamil-language action film directed by S. Shankar and produced by AVM Productions. The film stars Rajinikanth and Shriya Saran, with Vivek, Suman, Manivannan and Raghuvaran playing significant roles. A R Rahman composed the soundtrack and background music, while Thota Tharani and K. V. Anand were the film's art director and cinematographer respectively. The film revolves around a well-established software systems architect, Sivaji, who returns home to India after finishing work in the United States. On his return, he dreams of giving back to society with free medical treatment and education. However, his plans face a roadblock in the form of the influential businessman, Adiseshan. When corruption also arises, Sivaji is left with no option but to fight the system in his own way.
Prithviraj Sukumaran is an Indian actor, director, producer, playback singer and distributor known for his works primarily in Malayalam cinema. He has also appeared in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu language films. He acted in more than 100 films in a variety of roles, and has won several awards, including a National Film Award, three Kerala State Film Awards, a Tamil Nadu State Film Award and a Filmfare Awards South.
Murugadoss Arunasalam, commonly known as A.R. Murugadoss, is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter who predominantly works in the Tamil film industry. He is best known for directing action films mainly on social issues. In addition, he has worked in Telugu films and Hindi films. Murugadoss won the Filmfare Award for Best Director for his 2014 Tamil action drama Kaththi.
Nagaraju Shiva Puttaswamy, known by his screen name Shiva Rajkumar, is an Indian film actor, producer and television presenter, predominantly works in Kannada cinema. He is the eldest son of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar. In a career spanning over three decades, Shiva has worked in over 120 films. He has won many Karnataka State Film Awards, Filmfare Awards South, SIIMA awards and other recognitions for his performances onscreen.
Velayudham is a 2011 Indian Tamil-language vigilante masala film written and directed by M. Raja. It stars Vijay in the titular role with Genelia, Hansika, Santhanam, Saranya Mohan, Soori, Abhimanyu Singh, and Vineet Kumar in other prominent roles. The music was composed by Vijay Antony with cinematography by Priyan.
Jayaram Jayalalithaa was an Indian politician and actress who served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for more than fourteen years between 1991 and 2016. From 9 February 1989, she was the general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a Dravidian party whose cadre revered her as their "Amma" (Mother) and "Puratchi Thalaivi". She was involved in various corruption cases all through her political career. Her critics in the media and the opposition accused her of fostering a personality cult and of demanding absolute loyalty from AIADMK legislators and ministers, who often publicly prostrated themselves before her.
Vishwaroopam is a 2013 Indian espionage action thriller film written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan, who also enacts the lead role. The film has Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles. Filmed simultaneously in two languages: Tamil and Hindi, the film features a soundtrack composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with the Tamil lyrics written by Vairamuthu and Haasan himself, while Javed Akhtar translated them for the Hindi version.
The Cinema of South India is used to refer collectively the four distinct film industries of Southern region of India – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries – as a single entity.
Y?NOT Studios is an Indian film production company in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, established by producer S. Sashikanth. As of 2020, the company has produced 18 feature films, which includes productions made in the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi film industries of India. It has collaborated with filmmakers including Sudha Kongara, Balaji Mohan, Pushkar–Gayathri and Karthik Subbaraj.
Kothanda Ramaiah is an Indian Tamil film director, producer, distributor and exhibitor. He has held various leading positions in different film industry organizations.
Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC), is a union for film producers in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, based in Chennai. Formed in 18 July 1979, the group has a charitable trust fund to provide financial support to retired producers, voiced support for film producers and have collectively protested for socio-political issues.
Mersal (transl. Zapped) is a 2017 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film directed by Atlee who co-wrote the film with K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and S. Ramana Girivasan. Produced by Thenandal Studio Limited in their 100th production, the film stars Vijay in a triple role with S. J. Surya, Samantha Akkineni, Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen and Vadivelu.
K. E. Gnanavel Raja is an Indian film producer and entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, India. He initially began his career by producing and distributing films starring Suriya and Karthi, before branching out to own two studios — Studio Green and Aadnah Arts
Master is a 2021 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. Produced by Xavier Britto, under his maiden production house XB Film Creators, the film stars Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi while Malavika Mohanan, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj, Andrea Jeremiah, Arjun Das and Gouri G. Kishan play pivotal roles. The film revolves around an alcoholic professor, J. D. (Vijay), who takes a three-month teaching job in a juvenile home, unbeknownst to him. He soon clashes with a ruthless gangster named Bhavani, who uses the children as the scapegoat for his criminal activities.
The 2014 Tamil film Lingaa, despite being one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of the year, was considered a box-office bomb due to the high production and distribution costs involved. The distributors faced huge losses and asked for their money back, with few of them submitted petitions to go on a hunger strike to protest against the losses incurred. Many of them claimed that the film had incurred only 30 percent of the down payment after 25 days of its release. Rajinikanth later refunded one-third of the ₹33 crore (US$4.6 million) loss reportedly incurred by distributors and exhibitors. He decided to pay them ₹10 crore (US$1.4 million) 'on a humanitarian basis', who demanded a full refund and had threatened a "begging protest" in front of the actor's residence.
Chennai's film industry now rivals that of Bollywood (Mumbai) for output