Updated: August 4, 2013 12:28 IST

Tracking Tamil cinema

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Namathu Cinema (1912--2012)
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Namathu Cinema (1912--2012)

All the countries that have contributed to the growth of international cinema are also discussed in this book, perhaps for the first time in any book in Tamil.

Namathu Cinema (1912--2012)

Sivan; Tamil;

Kavitha Publication, 6, Masilamani Street, Pondy Bazaar, T.Nagar, Chennai -600 017. Rs. 350

An excellent publication to be welcomed with bells on, especially when there is hardly any worthwhile literature about Tamil Cinema in Tamil, much less in English with authenticity. The author deserves to be congratulated on writing and the publishers on bringing out this volume, which needs to be preserved by all those who love Tamil cinema.

The Dravidian link

The author has traced the history of cinema right from the earliest times and chimes going back to 1895 in the West and later in 1897 in this country. As Tamil cinema is for many historical reasons linked with Dravidian politics, the writer makes references wherever necessary on its impact on Tamil cinema. That’s not all. All the countries that have contributed to the growth of international cinema, are also discussed perhaps for the first time, in any book in Tamil.

The book also concentrates on statistics and mentions interesting trivia about film personalities, including those have departed for the yonder blue, the land of no return.

The author has covered the period of the early beginnings right up to 2012 which is the 100 year of Indian Cinema. The book is richly illustrated with several photographs of immense value.

This writer, a film historian of modest track record, could not help feeling that this book should be brought out in English. So far no attempt has been made to record the history of Tamil cinema in English. Film book publishers mostly based in Delhi do not show much interest; according to them such books do not sell!

On the debit side, there are some errors, for example, the South Indian film pioneer R. (for Rangaswami) Padmanabhan is referred to as P. Padmanabhan. In one of the photographs about the first version of ‘Anarkali’ (1928, a silent film ), the accompanying photograph is that of the later-day Hindi film, directed by the celebrated Nandlal Jaswantlal with immortal music composed by Chitalkar Ramchandra.

Some of the foreign names are wrongly spelt... the name of the famous lightweight camera which changed trends in movie-making, ‘Arriflex’, is spelt ‘Arryflex.’(The name of the company is Arnold and Richter. And the name of the camera became was ‘Arriflex! ) Anyway, Sivan deserves a pat on the back for this effort. May his tribe, and his books, increase!

This article has been edited for a spelling error.

Ironically when Randor Guy points out the errors there is an error in his own article. Instead
of 'immortal' it is stated as 'immoral'!!!

from:  R. Mahendra Raj
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 18:19 IST
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