Tollywood's Glorious Journey
TOLLYWOOD's GLORIOUS JOURNEY
Telugu film Industry deservingly celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. Today, Tollywood holds the record in the world for producing maximum movies in any language. From the silent era to talkies and into techies wasn't a smooth journey. Like life, the Telugu film industry had its highs and lows. Its arduous pilgrimage to the pinnacle of glory was aptly punctuated by men and women of vision, steely will and innovation. They were adept at adopting new techniques and technologies. They stood steadfast in the face of adversity and took unimaginable risks in their prosperity…. All in the spirit of stabilizing the Telugu film Industry. Let us look back at some of the milestones of Tollywood.
On September 15, 1931 the first Telugu Talkie, Bhakta Prahlada was released directed by H.M.Reddy and produced by Ardasher M.Irani. Chitrapu Narasimha Rao who acted a comic role is the first comedian. H.R.Padmanabha Sastry who composed music for the first talkie is also the first music director.
On September 24, 1938 Mala Pilla produced by Sarathi films and directed by Gndavalli Ramabrahmam was released. For the first time the story revolved around social ills, particularly the outcast system. This movie portrayed an orthodox Brahmin boy marrying a scheduled caste girl. The movie created a lot of controversy with the upper castes staging protest in
In 1947, Ratnamala was released.This is a mythological film written and produced by Bhammathi and directed by her husband PS Ramakrishna Rao. This is the first film without a Hero.
On March 15, 1951, Pathala Bhairavi produced by B. Nagireddy & Chakrapani and directed by K.V.Reddy was the first picture to be categorized as a 'box-office' hit, both collection-wise and popularity with the audience.It was also the first film where camera work and art direction were given prime importance..Marcus Bartley was the cameraman and Gokhale was the art director. Music was composed by Ghantasala. Again for the first time, a Hammond Organ was used for Back Ground score and rerecording.
In 1953, Devadas starring ANR and Savithri, directed by Vedantham Raghavayya and produced by D.L.Narayana was released. This was the film based on the novel by Sharath Chandra. This is the first film which made the audience sit up and acknowledge the individual performance of actors. The same story was made into 11 movie versions (silent film-1, Bengali-3, Hindi-3, Telugu-2, Tamil-1, Malayalam-1). But Devdas remains a great celluloid accomplishment in Tollywood.
In 1957, Mayabazaar was released produced by BN Reddy and Chakrapani and directed by K.V.Reddy. This is the first multi-starrer in Telugu. This is also the first picture where two music directors Ghantasala and Saluri Rajeswar Rao worked. Even today this film is avidly watched and enjoyed,even by Genext audience.
In 1961, Padandi Munduku was produced by Kongara Jaggaiah and directed by V. Madhusudhana Rao. This was the first film based on Gandhiji's Salt Satyagraha. This is the first film to be given Government subsidy and also the first Telugu film to be screened in Soviet Russia.
In 1963 the first colour mythological film Lavakusha was released produced by A.Shankar Reddy and directed by C. Pulliah and CS. Rao. This is the first film to celebrate 100 days in 56 centres.
In 1964, Doctor Chakravarthi produced by Dukkipati Madhusudhana Rao was the first film based on a Telugu novel of the same name written by Koduri Kausalya Devi. In 1964 the Andhra Pradesh Government instituted Nandi Awards. Dr.Chakravarthi is the first film to win The Golden Nandi.
In 1965, Thene Manasulu produced and directed by Adurthi Subbarao is released. This is the first Telugu film where Hero, Heroine and other actors were selected through a selection process by issuing Ads in the print media calling for new faces. This is also the first Eastman Color Social Film.
In 1975, Muthyala Muggu directed by Bapu was released. This film was a pioneer in redefining story telling and screen play.
B.N. Reddy, the first Telugu film personality, was awarded the prestigious Dada Sahab Phalke Award.
In 1979 Sankarabharanam produced by Edida Nageswar Rao and directed by K. Viswanath was released. For the first time, this movie minted money without any publicity or marketing effort.
In 1983, Megha Sandesham written, produced and directed by Dasari Narayana Rao was released. This was the first film to win 9 Nandi Awards.
In 1985, Prathighatana produced by Ramoji Rao and directed by T. Krishna was released. This was the first film to introduce the character of 'Political Goonda'.
In 1989, Shiva was released, produced by Venkat Akkineni and the debutant director Ram Gopal Varma. For the first time, technical excellence was given prime importance. This was the first Telugu film to have a 4-track rerecording. This film permanently changed the face of Tollywood
Today, the Telugu films are more mature and wholesome. They are excelling year by year, in all aspects of film making. Hats off to the pioneers in Tollywood, who tread the paths less traveled.
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