Tamil cinema's tryst with visual arts: A look at vintage film posters, banners that popularised classics [Photos]

FP Staff August 30, 2020 13:21:10 IST
Cinema and visual art went hand in hand in the Madras skyline — be it the painted walls of the Binny Mills in north Madras, cloth banners fluttering along the banks of the Cooum, or canvas paintings outside every theatre in the city. | The 1964 cult classic Kadhalikka Neramillai is often considered a trendsetter in the Tamil comedy genre. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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Cinema and visual art went hand in hand in the Madras skyline — be it the painted walls of the Binny Mills in north Madras, cloth banners fluttering along the banks of the Cooum, or canvas paintings outside every theatre in the city. | The 1964 cult classic Kadhalikka Neramillai is often considered a trendsetter in the Tamil comedy genre. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
Posters of classic scenes, laminated photo boards on the backs of Pallavan buses, and billboards featuring the entire cast of a film were sights not unknown to the people of Madras. | The 1957 period drama Ambikapathy, featuring Sivaji Ganesan and P Bhanumathim, was an adaptation of the 1937 film of the same name, directed by Ellis R Dungan. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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Posters of classic scenes, laminated photo boards on the backs of Pallavan buses, and billboards featuring the entire cast of a film were sights not unknown to the people of Madras. | The 1957 period drama Ambikapathy, featuring Sivaji Ganesan and P Bhanumathim, was an adaptation of the 1937 film of the same name, directed by Ellis R Dungan. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
Life-size cutouts of our favourite heroes and hand-painted hoardings that dotted the stretch between Safire and Casino on Mount Road was a veritable feast to the eyes. | In the 1973-released film Rajaraja Cholan, Sivaji Ganesan essayed the role of the Chola king Rajaraja Chola (985-1014 CE). It was the first cinemascope in the Tamil film industry and opened to wide critical and commercial acclaim. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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Life-size cutouts of our favourite heroes and hand-painted hoardings that dotted the stretch between Safire and Casino on Mount Road was a veritable feast to the eyes. | In the 1973-released film Rajaraja Cholan, Sivaji Ganesan essayed the role of the Chola king Rajaraja Chola (985-1014 CE). It was the first cinemascope in the Tamil film industry and opened to wide critical and commercial acclaim. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
Today that history is being replaced by 'first look' releases, YouTube trailers and OTT ads. | Parasakthi marked Gemini Ganesan's acting debut and is often considered a cult classic in terms of screenplay and dialogues. This 1952 drama was set around a Tamil family's miseries and shortcomings after the second World War. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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Today that history is being replaced by 'first look' releases, YouTube trailers and OTT ads. | Parasakthi marked Gemini Ganesan's acting debut and is often considered a cult classic in terms of screenplay and dialogues. This 1952 drama was set around a Tamil family's miseries and shortcomings after the second World War. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
An eminent panel of historians, filmmakers and academicians delved into this heritage that marked a symbiosis between cinema and politics through photographs and visual art, to celebrate 'Madras month' at the Chennai Photo Biennale in August. | The 1956 release Madurai Veeran was the second film (the first having released in 1939) made on the folklore legend and starred MG Ramachandran as the eponymous character, with P Bhanumathi and Padmini in lead roles. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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An eminent panel of historians, filmmakers and academicians delved into this heritage that marked a symbiosis between cinema and politics through photographs and visual art, to celebrate 'Madras month' at the Chennai Photo Biennale in August. | The 1956 release Madurai Veeran was the second film (the first having released in 1939) made on the folklore legend and starred MG Ramachandran as the eponymous character, with P Bhanumathi and Padmini in lead roles. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
The panelists comprised renowned artist V Jeevananthan, author, art historian Dr Preminda Jacob, award-winning cinematographer-director Rajiv Menon, and film historian and author S Theodore Baskaran. | When Karnan released in 1964, it ran for more than 100 days and was considered a milestone in the south Indian film industry. Karnan was based on the legend of Karna from the epic Mahabharata. Starring Sivaji Ganesan as Karna, the film had a stellar cast including NT Rama Rao, SA Ashokan, R Muthuraman, Devika, Savitri and MV Rajamma. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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The panelists comprised renowned artist V Jeevananthan, author, art historian Dr Preminda Jacob, award-winning cinematographer-director Rajiv Menon, and film historian and author S Theodore Baskaran. | When Karnan released in 1964, it ran for more than 100 days and was considered a milestone in the south Indian film industry. Karnan was based on the legend of Karna from the epic Mahabharata. Starring Sivaji Ganesan as Karna, the film had a stellar cast including NT Rama Rao, SA Ashokan, R Muthuraman, Devika, Savitri and MV Rajamma. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
Veerapandiya Kattabomman, the 1959 biographical war feature was loosely based on the story of an 18th-century warrior and tribal chief from a small village named Panchalankurichi, he rebelled against the British East India Company. The film had Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S Varalakshmi, and Ragini in prominent roles. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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Veerapandiya Kattabomman, the 1959 biographical war feature was loosely based on the story of an 18th-century warrior and tribal chief from a small village named Panchalankurichi, he rebelled against the British East India Company. The film had Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S Varalakshmi, and Ragini in prominent roles. Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
The 1954 P Bhanumathi and MG Ramachandran-starrer Malaikkallan had a record-breaking. It was the first Indian film to be remade in five different languages - Telugu (Aggiramudu), Malayalam (Thaskaraveeran), Kannada (Bettada Kalla), Hindi (Azaad) and Sinhalese (Surasena). Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection
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The 1954 P Bhanumathi and MG Ramachandran-starrer Malaikkallan had a record-breaking. It was the first Indian film to be remade in five different languages - Telugu (Aggiramudu), Malayalam (Thaskaraveeran), Kannada (Bettada Kalla), Hindi (Azaad) and Sinhalese (Surasena). Image courtesy: Roja Muthiah Research Library Collection