15-part weekly show begins on March 30

BBC Tamil is embarking on an exploration of film comedy with a new 15-part weekly radio series. From March 30, The History of Tamil Film Comedy will look at the origins and evolution of comedy as a dominating genre in the Tamil film industry.

Based in Chennai, the Tamil film industry is one of India’s largest mass-culture institutions, alongside Mumbai-based Bollywood.

The History of Tamil Film Comedy is produced and presented by the former BBC journalist, Sampath Kumar.

“Actors, directors, comedy writers, film critics and researchers, brought together in these programmes, share their memories, helping to chronicle the amazing story of Tamil film comedy. I had a wonderful experience working on this radio series, researching a genre that has brought so much joy and entertainment to so many lives,” says Mr. Kumar.

BBC programmes have explored various aspects of Tamil cinema in the past — from the impact of Tamil cinema on regional politics, to the history of Tamil film music, and the “doyens” of Tamil cinema.

BBC Tamil Editor, Thirumalai Manivannan, adds: “Through its nearly 100 years of vibrant history, the Tamil film industry has nurtured a uniquely original comedy tradition. Our new series highlights the fact that, as a genre, Tamil film comedy has reflected the Tamil cultural mores, occasionally drawing on the ‘non-Tamil’ traditions such as Hindi and Western slapstick comedy.”

The series will be broadcast at 15.45 GMT (21.15 Indian and Sri Lankan Standard Times) on Sundays.