Sunday, January 29, 2012

FATHER OF MALAYALAM CINEMA

I am confident  that many of my friends  may also wonder who is the father of Malayalam Cinema and  will not be very sure about the answer.Everybody but will be knowing that Kerala Government is giving an award to a celebrity in the cinema field as life time achievement  award in the name of J.C.Daniel.It is in honor to J.C.Daniel who is the Father of Malayalam Cinema that award is given.
J.C.Daniel was a Dentist by profession and lived in Trivandrum  and his roots were in Tamil Nadu.He was a very wealthy person who owned large area of land in Trivandrum and Tamil Nadu.He mastered in the martial arts of Kerala 'Kalaripayattu' and was very much impressed by that.He thought that he should give wide publicity for this art form and  he selected  cinema as a media for communicating to the people.It was during the 1925 period and at that time cinema was in the childhood stage only.Only silent movies without soundtrack was
exhibited and a commentator who sits beside the screen will explain what is happening on the screen and also
tells the dialogues also.Since it was a new invention people were thrilled and viewed other language films and
foreign  films which were shown in  a few permanent theaters and touring theaters.
Very much impressed about  the cinema J.C.Daniel went to Chennai where there was film Studio at that time.He was not allowed to enter there to know in detail about cinema but he proceeded to Mumbai.There at Mumbai he was succeeded to understand all aspects about cinema production and the instruments  needed for it.He came back to Trivandrum and sold all his properties for Rs.4 Lakhs and set up a Studio for Cinema Production at  Pattom in Trivandrum city itself.
J.C.Daniel wrote the story,Scripted it,Directed it and done editing also by himself and made a feature film
in the name 'Vigatha Kumaran'(Lost child).At that time females  were not allowed to enter in to acting profession and considered as a sin.In the film an actress by name 'Rosie' was acting in a role.The childhood days of the hero was acted by J.C.Daniel's son itself.When the film was ready he felt very happy because he had fulfilled his dream project.There was only one print and it was exhibited at the theater in Trivandrum.
When the female character entered on the screen the spectators realized that she was a keralite woman and
they protested.Some of the viewers threw stones on the projector etc and the show was discontinued.
J.C.Daniel lost his confidence but at some other centers like Alleppey it was well accepted and people did not bother about the Malayali heroine.There were only ten or twelve permanent theaters in Kerala then and the
collections from the film did not meet the expenses.J.C.Daniel could not move ahead with more projects even though he made a documentary film about martial arts 'Kalari Payattu' .He became bankrupt and had to sell his studio also.He went to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and continued with his Dentistry.Meanwhile
the heroine 'Rosie' also was  not allowed to live peacefully in Kerala and  she too went to Tamil Nadu
and settled down there marrying somebody from there.
We can not say that J.C.Daniel was foolish in this regard but things did not work well as his expectation.
The number of theaters were very less and to earn a gross collection without delay was not possible and
the heroine problem also worked against him.We should appreciate his abilities to acquire full knowledge
about cinema and to utilize it successfully.The story and screenplay was also not bad.He was having ideas
and if the film would have a success  he must have made a lot of films from his Studio.
Rs.4 Lakh in 1928 was  a huge amount  and now it can be taken as 4 crores and he lost all for sake of Malayalam cinema  and  we should thank him for initiating Malayalam Films  'Vigatha Kumaran' is the first Malayalam film (silent movie).

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