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Fascinating Facts of Kannada Film History

Updated on : Jul 27, 2010

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Fascinating Facts of Kannada Film History

A QUICK LOOK AT GLIMPSE OF 76 YEARS OF KANNADA CINEMA

The first Kannada film ‘Sathi Sulochana’ released on 3rd March 1934 (but first film made was ‘Bhakta Dhruva) was made in 40000 rupees. 

The first hero of Kannada screen was Subbainaidu. This film was directed by YV Rao in the banner South India Movietone. The producer of this film was Shah Chamanmal Dungata was from Rajasthan. R.Nagendra Rao who played ‘Ravan’ in that was paid Rs.3000. This film was shot in Kolhapur. In Sathi Sulochana Murthy Rao, Lakshmi Bai, Tripuramba, CT Seshashalam also figured in the cast.

In one month duration of release of first Kannada movie Sathi Sulochana ‘Bhaktha Druva’ was also released.

‘Samsara Nauke’ the first south Indian social film in Kannada film investment was Rs.33000 but it earned Rs.2.5 lakhs.

Literary Personality Devudu took leadership of ‘Chiranjeevi’ Kannada film – the first one from Uttar Kannada belt.

On account of World war from 1938 for three years no film was made.

From ‘Subhadra’ Honnappa Bhagavathar made debut on silver screen.

From the Royal Family Kemparaj Urs acted as hero in Gubbi Company film “Jeevana Nataka’. Shantha Heblikar was one of the heroines. Well known literary personality Aa.Na.Krishna Rao penned lyrics.

The sound studio started in Malleswaram Bangalore the first one was closed that lead to Kannada films moving to Madras (now Chennai)

Karnataka Pictures Corporation Studio was set up in Bangalore

The first theatre of Karnataka is Paramount – that was later named Parimala talkies in city market. The first Cinerama theatre in Asia is Kapali situated in Subedar Chatram road, Bangalore.

When the lion roaring sound was heard in the theatres the people mistook it and ran away from the theatres in early stages of cinema.

MV Rajamma is the first woman producer of Kannada from Radha Ramana in the 1940’s.

English professor MV Krishnaswamy came to filmdom from ‘Bharathi’ film.

In the 1950’s ‘Navajyothi Studio’ was started in Mysore. Another studio Premier Studio also came up in this decade.

One of the heroes of ‘Sri Srinivasa Kalyana’ (one of the Saptharishi) Rajakumar came to filmdom.

1954 debut of Rajakumar in ‘Bedara Kannappa’. Rajakumar was picked by director HLN Simha when he was standing in a bus stand at Nanjangud. ‘Bedara Kannappa’ won the certificate of merit at the national level in 1955. Rajakumar later acted in 206 films and won awards like Karnataka Rathna, Dadasaheb Phalke etc. Dr.Rajakumar was in the captivity of fugitive Veerappan for 108 days and all these days there was no activity in Kannada filmdom.

Playback singer PB Srinivas, music director Vijaya Bhasker came to cinema field in mid 50’s.

From ‘Rayara Sose Rajakumar’ came to social films.

School Master and Premada Putri got special sanction from Central Government

In the 1960-69 – Kannada Film Artists Association started ‘Ranadheera 
Kanteerava’.

The famous Kumar trios – Rajakumar, Kalyankumar, Udayakumar acted in ‘Bhoodana’ Kannada film.

The first novel based Kannada film is ‘Karuneye Kutumbada Kannu’ was made in 1962.

The first color film in Kannada is ‘Amarashilpi Jakannachari’ starring Kalyankumar and B Saroja Devi was directed by BS Ranga.

‘Jedara Bale’ is the first bond type cinema.

Tarzan type cinema was first made by MP shanker titled ‘Kadina Rahasya’.

Puttanna Kanagal made debut from ‘Belli Moda’.

In the 60’s the unforgettable Chi.Udayashanker as writer came to industry became part and parcel of Kannada cinema for over four decades.

In this decade the subsidy to Kannada cinema was started.

In the 1970’s – The prostitute based ‘Gejje Pooje’ became a big hit.

Balakrishna comedy actor started Abhiman Studio and Kanteerava Studio was started.

The new wave cinema was ‘Samskara’ based on novel of Dr U R Ananthamurthy was directed by Pattabhirama Reddy.

Samskara was the first Swarna Kamal award film in Kannada.

Prithvi Raj Kapoor acted in ‘Sakshatkaara’ starring Rajakumar, Jamuna directed by SR Puttanna Kanagal.

The first triple role of Rajakumar was in ‘Kula Gowrava’.

Bangaradha Manushya – the highest number of days running film. Directed by Siddalingaiah the film starred Dr Rajakumar, Bharathi, Vajramuni, Srinath and others.

From Nagarahavu – Dr Vishnuvardhana, Ambarish, Aarathi were introduced to Kannada cinema by SR Puttanna Kanagal.

The first hero of Kannada cinema Subbai Naidu’s son Lokesh was introduced from ‘Boothayyana Maga Ayyu’ by director Siddalingaiah.

Rajanikanth made debut in ‘Katha Sangama’ Kannada film.

The first cinema scope film was ‘Sose Thanda showbhagya’ produced by Ankalagi brothers.

SV Rajendra Singh Babu came to cinema field as director from ‘Nagara Hole’.

Noted Hindustani singer Shyamala G Bhave from ‘Parivarthane’ became the first woman music director.

Shanker Nag made debut from ‘Ondanondu Kaladalli’ and prior to his entry his elder brother Ananthnag made debut from ‘Sankalpa’.

Actress Lakshmi directed ‘Makkala Sainya’. Julie Lakshmi daughter of YV Rao the first director of Kannada cinema ‘Sathi Sulochana’.

Prema Loka of V Ravichandran and Hamsalekha created a new wave and broken all records in the box office. Juhi Chawla was the heroine.

Puttanna Kanagal award of Rs.1 lakh was instituted by state government to a director and Dr Rajakumar award of Rs.1 lakh to actor fraternity.

50 years of Kannada cinema the Golden Jubilee was attended by Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Rajanikanth, V Shantharam and others.

Sharavegadha Saradara starring Kumar Bangarappa was the first 70MM cinema in Kannada. It was directed by KV Jayaram.

Sanketh Electronics Studio was started by Nag brothers.

In the 90’s – Abbainaidu started ‘Madhu Studio’.

Government waived all the loans of actor Balakrishna on his death.

Master Puneeth now the No.1 hero of Kannada cinema won the best actor at the national award for his role in ‘Bettada Hoovu’. His cousin Master Vijaya Raghavendra also famous actor today won the national award as best actor for ‘Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai’ that gave national award to music director Hamsalekha and best playback singer award to Dr SP Balasubramaniam.

New wave once again in Kannada. ‘A’ of Upendra created sensation. 

Gejje Pooje, Sharapanjara, Chakrateertha, Samskara, Uyyale and Shubba Shastri are the films screened for the first time in international film festival held abroad.

The first film to screen 100 days was ‘Satya Harishchandra’. First silver Jubilee film was ‘School Master’.

Movieland theatre is the first theatre to start the Queue system in Bangalore.

Rajkumar, Bharathi starring ‘Bangaradha Manushya’ is the first film to run successfully for two years. Raghavendra Rajakumar’s ‘Nanjuindi Kalyana’ almost came near to it.

The first novel based Kannada film is ‘Karuneye Kutumbada Kannu’ (novel Dharmadevathe).

The first film journalist is H.R.Krishnamurthy of ‘Chitra Samachar’. The first film magazine ‘Cinema’ was started in 1936 from Gadag. ‘Prajamatha’ magazine in Kannada published film articles first in 1931. Kannada Prabha was the first to come out with film supplement ‘Chitraprabha’ that was later followed by others.

A film in 24 hours ‘September 8’ was made in Tulu by Dr.Richard Castellino. Tulu is one of the four recognized languages of Karnataka. Dr.Shivarama Karanth played a guest role in ‘September 8’.

A film with only two artistes was ‘Shringara Maasa’. A film with only one artiste Bhavana was ‘Shanthi’ made by Baraguru Ramachandrappa. ‘Shanthi’ got Guinness recognition and UN recognition too. 

Master Kishen is the nation’s youngest director of ‘Care of Footpath’ also got Guinness recognition.

‘Singapuradalli Rajakulla’ is the first film to shoot abroad in Kannada. The first film to shoot outside the four walls is ‘Belli Moda’.

The first cinematography division in India was started in Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic.

Bollywood actress Rekha made debut in Kannada film Operation Jackpot CID 999. Ace singer Latha Mangeshkar’s first Kannada song Bellane Belakaithu.. is for the film ‘Sangolli Rayanna’. Mohammad Rafi only song in Kannada was Neenelli Nadave Dhoora… from ‘Amrutha Dhare’ Amitabh Bachchan made his first appearance in Kannada cinema.

‘Samskara’ that heralded a new wave cinema by Pattabhirama Reddy got Swarnakamal award at the national level. In the state level it got second best film award.

Subsidy of Rs.50000 to Kannada films was introduced in the year 1966. It was increased later to Rs.10 lakh for 20 quality films every year. Very recently it was increased to 30 films. In 2005-2006 Rs.25 lakh subsidy to two children films was announced.

Karnataka government is the first one to introduce 100 percent Entertainment Tax exemption to Kannada films.

‘Samskara’ is the first ever Kannada film to get the President’s Gold Medal. The 
wave of new cinema started from then on. Girish Karnad made debut as an actor in this film.

G.V.Iyer who achieved direction in 1975 for ‘Hamsageethe’ later went on to make films in Sanskirt on the three philosophers Dwaita, Adwaitha and Vishistadwaitha proponents.

Girish Kasaravalli is the maximum Swarnakamal award winner in the country.

‘Savira Mettilu’ of Puttanna Kanagal who directed 23 films in Kannada, six in Malayalam, three in Telugu and three in Tamil one in Hindi unfinished project was released after 37 years. Puttana’s another unfinished project was ‘Masanadha Hoovu’ that was directed by KSL Swamee later. The maximum of 22 artistes were introduced by Puttanna Kanagal the doyen of Kannada cinema. Puttanna’s name was S.R.Sharma when he directed films in Telugu.

Rajakumar earlier name was Muthuraj. Jayamala’s original name is Jayanthi. Arathi’s real name was Bharathi. Actress Leelavathi’s earlier name was Leela Kiran.

The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa was introduced as actress from ‘Chinnada Gombe’ Kannada film.

In ‘Krishna Sudhama’ the famous classical singer of this country M.S.Subbulakshmi played a role.

Shabana Azmi acted in Kannada film ‘Kanneshwara Rama’ opposite Ananthnag – the film was directed by M.S.Sathyu. The doyen of Hindi cinema Prithviraj Kapoor acted in ‘Sakshatkaara’ – a film starring Dr.Rajkumar and Jamuna directed by SR Puttanna Kanagal.

Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Pran, Shakthi Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sonali Bendre, Rohini Hattangadi, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Kumar, Raveena Tandon, Shivaji Ganeshan, Gemini Ganeshan, Rajanikanth, Kamal Hassan have all acted in Kannada cinema. 

Dr.Rajakumar is the first hero on Kannada screen to complete 100 films as hero. He is the first hero in Kannada to appear in Bond film.

Dr.Rajakumar jumping in to Gokak Chaluvali in 1982 has given a new facelift to primacy to Kannada movement.

9 TIMES STATE AWARD – the highest was bestowed on Dr.Rajkumar.

Dr Rajakumar addressed the media on August 6, 1996 after receiving the Dada Saheb Phalke Award it was in Kannada language. For questions in English and Hindi Dr.Rajakumar answered only in Kannada (Director Bhagwan translated Dr.Rajkumar answers in to English)

‘Chitraloka’ exhibition of films stills showcased all the Kannada films released from 1934 to 2006. This is first of its kind in India. It bagged the Limca Record recognition.

High Definition camera used Kannada cinema ‘Magic Ajji’ was made in Kannada. For the first time Olfaction system was introduced for ‘Gunna’ Kannada cinema.

The first color cinema in Kannada was ‘Amarashilpi Jakkanachari’. The first cinema scope cinema was ‘Sose Thanda Sowbhagya’. The first 70mm cinema was ‘Sharavegadha Saradara’ starring Kumar Bangarappa. For lyrics in the cinema K.S.Narasimhaswamy the ‘Jasmine Poet’ got the national recognition. South India’s first woman producer is M.V.Rajamma. The first woman director of the country is T.P.Rajalakshmi for directing Tamil film ‘Kamala’.

The first Bond film in Kannada is ‘Jedara Bale’. Gejje Pooje is the first film to get best screenplay award at the national level for Puttanna Kanagal.

In the first release ‘Mantralaya Mahatme’ (1956) of Dr Rajakumar ran for four weeks. When it was released after 10 years it ran for 12 weeks.

The pistol used in ‘Gandhada Gudi’ created a ruckus. The fans of Dr.Rajkumar and Dr.Vishnuvardhana rubbed shoulders.

One of the best of 100 world films Kannada film ‘Ghatashradda’ is also in the list. 

The first silver jubilee cinema in Kannada is ‘Jaganmohini’. 
The first national recognition to Kannada film was Dr.Rajakumar starring ‘BedaraKannappa’ in 1954. 

The first silver trophy won Kannada film was ‘Mahakavi Kalidasa’. M.V.VasudevaRao is the first one to get national award for his acting in ‘Chomana Dudi’. 

Dr.Rajkumar did not get any national award for his acting in 206 films but he was the only one to get Dadasaheb Phalke award the highest award of this country given to film personality. For his singing Nadamaya Yee Lokavella Nadamaya…in Jeevana Chaitra he got the best playback singer award at the national level. The

first one to get international award for acting is Shankernag for ‘Ondanondu Kaladalli’. In debut as director Girish Kasaravalli got swarna Kamal.

In 1964 Satya Harischandra starring Dr.Rajkumar Pandari Bai, Udaykumar was made in Rs.5 lakh. When the same black and white film was transformed in to color with DTS, cinemascope and re-recording recently it cost Rs.3.5 crores.

In the annals of Kannada film history of 67 years the year 2000 was unforgettable for the kidnapping of Dr.Rajkumar by the forest brigand. Dr.Rajkumar kidnap from his native village in Gajanur on July 30 night at 9.30 pm has blocked the Kannada film industry for three and half months. The result the industry faced Rs.250 crores worth of activities coming to halt. It was after 108 days on November 15, the matinee idol Dr.Rajkumar was released from forest by dreaded killer, smuggler Veerappan.

HD camera was used for shooting ‘Kanakambari’. In the same year Digi Quest latest camera was also used for Oh Gulabiye shooting. 

Puneeth Rajakumar from ‘Appu’ and Ramya from ‘Abhi’ made debut and became 
superstars.

The cancellation of 32 International Film Festival in Bangalore on account of WTC crash and drought in the State and half a dozen conflicts created room for controversies.

Government of Karnataka announced Rs.25 lakh each for two children films made in the year. It has given three years tax free holiday for multiplex theatres, Piracy Act announcement, special honor to national award films, setting up of film Academy; it has withdrawn the 50 percent outdoor shooting order. Service Charge re introduced in Karnataka.

Amitabh Bachchan the big B of Indian film industry made his first presence in South Indian language Kannada film – Amrutha Dhaare’.

‘Sarthaka Suvarna’ the state government honor to Dr.Rajkumar for 50 years of his yeomen service to Kannada filmdom. 

The demise of icon of Kannada cinema Dr.Rajkumar turned out to be major blow to the Kannada filmdom in the year 2006. Dr.Rajkumar who had taken the Kannada film industry to the great heights died on April 12 has been shocking. 8 persons were killed in his funeral procession to Kanteerava studio.

Master Kishen director at the age of 11 got the ‘Guinness’ recognition at the international level for his ‘Care of Footpath’ as world’s youngest director.

Producer, Exhibitor and Distributor also a politician H.D.Kumaraswamy became the chief minister of State on February 3rd. In the history of Karnataka a film related personality occupying the helm of position is for the first time.

Jayamala touching the feet of Lord Ayyappa 20 years ago topped the controversy list. Jayamala irked with the controversy has also decided to take action on three persons from Kerala.

Mungaru Male topped the 75 years collection list of Kannada cinema. Yogaraj Bhat 
as director, Ganesh as hero, Cameraman S Krishna and Mano Murthy as music director all reached with producer E Krishnappa earning crossing more than 25 crores.

Innovative Group, the pioneers in the multiplex business in the state of Karnataka today unveiled the first phase of the much awaited “Innovative Film City,” The country’s first-multi crore fully integrated entertainment concept came up in Bidadi.

‘Amrutha Mahotsava’ that was held in March for three days. 

The Cinema workers Federation celebrated the event for five days next to Dr Rajakumar Samadhi at Kanteerava Studios. 

The Karnataka government allotted Rs.5 crores for the Amrutha Bhavan building and the place for this has been identified at ‘Nandini Layout’. 

Anti Piracy Act was introduced. 

Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy was constituted by government that appointed TS Nagabharana as chairman.

Dr Vishnuvardhana of 200 films died in the early hours of December 30 2009 in Mysore.

‘Jogi’ made record collection in the box office. This was broken by ‘Mungaru Male’ starring Golden star Ganesh. Ganesh’s three films in a row made a business of Rs.105 crores in 2007.

The highest number of film releases 122 was in the year 2009.

Karnataka State government has set up 2 acres of land for Dr Rajakumar Samadhi at Kanteerava studios. It has allotted Rs.10 crore for the memorial of Dr Rajakumar.

Two acres of land Karnataka government purchased adjacent to Abhiman Studio for the memorial of Dr Vishnuvardhana. Government set aside Rs.10 crore for the Memorial of Dr Vishnuvardhana.

The government doubled the award money given annually after declaration of State awards.

Supporting actor award in the name of Dr KS Ashwath and Life Time achievement award in the name of Dr Vishnuvardhana.

The subsidy for Kannada films on the basis of quality was raised from 30 films to 50 films annually. The subsidy amount of Government to Kannada films is Rs.10 lakh per film.

Government has allotted Rs.5 crores for Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy. The place is on 2 acres of land at Mahalakshmi Layout.

Government has set up revolving fund of Rs.50 lakhs for the needy of the Kannada cinema industry.

Dr Jayamala was the first woman President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.

Fascinating Facts of Kannada Film History Gallery

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