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Vol. XXXIII No. 1, April 16-30, 2023

Heritage Watch: 75 years of an iconic film

Chandralekha, perhaps the most-remembered film of Gemini Studios, completed 75 years since release on April 8 this year, for it was on that date in 1948 that the movie was first screened. Now why should that be commemorated? Well, it happens to be the first South Indian film to become a pan-Indian hit. It was only after it that S.S. Vasan came to be recognised as a producer on par with those in Bombay.Gemini became a centre for excellence and following in its wake AVM, Vijaya Vauhini, Prasad and so many others gained the confidence that would put Madras on the film production map of the country. All of them made blockbuster hits not just in Tamil but in Telugu, and Hindi, apart from a few other languages. It was all enabled by Gemini’s Chandralekha.

Considering that this is an industry where fame is ephemeral at best, it is not surprising that Chandralekha is not celebrated. But it is remembered.

Our OLD shows a sequence from the film’s drum dance. Our NEW is a postage stamp on S.S. Vasan, where the backdrop shows the same sequence.

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