Wednesday, September 24, 2014


R.Nataraja Mudaliar who produced several silent films from 1916 is considered as the Father of Tamil Cinema.
Scene from Markandeya
Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar was born in Vellore, Madras Presidency, in the year 1885 and he reached Madras City  to start a business there.He chose to sell bicycles and the price of a bicycle,which was a common vehicle those days was just Rs.25/- and so his business flourished well.His business was under the trade name 'Watson  and Company'.
Scene from Draupadi Vastraharanam

Scene from Phalke's Harishchandra
Meanwhile, he made relationship with a foreign firm and he got licence to sell American Cars and he was the first Indian to sell American Cars which was available for Rs.1000/- those days.That business was also a success.
Nataraja Mudaliar had a flair for photography and he wanted to  study about motion pictures photography  when he witnessed silent films from Mumbai.He made friendship with a British Cinematographer 'Stewart Smith' and he taught him the basics of film making.Later he went to Pune and had further study over the subject.
Dada Saheb Phalke's Harishchandra was a big
inspiration for Mudaliyar.
He made his first film which was a silent film in 1916 in the name 'Keechaka Vadham', under the banner of the production house 'India Film Company'  and it was the illustration of a story taken from the Epic Mahabharatha'.It was more than 6000 feet and  was the first silent film made in South India.He was the writer,cinematographer,producer,editor and director of this film.
With the help of his friend Dharmalingam and others he set up a film studio at Muller's Road and continued with his film making and always selected  Hindu mythological themes  or historical themes for the films.
Later a fire accident in the studio caused the death of Mudaliar's son and he quit film production and closed the film studio also.
Nataraja Mudaliar passed away in the year 1972.

Selected Filmography

Kechaka Vadham
Draupadi Vasthraharanam
Mayil Ravana
Lava Kusa
Kalia Mardanam
Rugmini Kalyanam

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