The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy has drawn up plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first talkie in Malayalam cinema.

Malayalam was first heard on the silver screen in 1938, when the movie Balan was released. Now, as digital technology has taken Malayalam cinema and its voice miles ahead, the academy is planning to pay tributes to the past.

An action plan on the proposed programmes lined up for the coming year, released by K.B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, during the State film awards function here on Monday, include projects such as identifying and renovating cinemas that once played a crucial role in taking films to the people in rural areas; conducting village-level film festivals and related activities; a five-day film festival in Kochi or Kozhikode with a section featuring 75 select Malayalam movies as the main attraction; honouring of senior personalities and their contributions to Malayalam cinema; attempts to include a Malayalam film package in international film festivals across the globe; archiving and curating old prints, equipment and other related articles; digitisation of old Malayalam films and video archives; setting up of a Malayalam cinema portal; producing a documentary series on Malayalam cinema; publication of books related to Malayalam cinema; and bringing out postal covers commemorating the 75th anniversary.

Institution of awards for young researchers on Malayalam cinema and for short films at the school level is on the cards.

Earlier, inaugurating the award function, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the State government had done all it could to promote Malayalam cinema last year under the leadership of Mr. Ganesh Kumar. It was a matter of pride that 140 films were made last year alone, he said.

Sasikumar, veteran film-maker who was presented the prestigious J.C. Daniel award for lifetime achievement, said he had made 141 films.

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