Sunday, November 29, 2015

J.C.Daniel - Father Of Malayalam Cinema

J.C.Daniel is considered as the Father of Malayalam Cinema who was courageous to set up a Film Studio at Thiruvanathapuram and produced as well as directed the first ever feature film in Malayalam. Kerala Government is giving an award to a celebrity in the Malayalam  cinema field as Life time Achievement  Award in the name of J.C.Daniel which is the highest Cinema award given by Kerala Government.It is as a  honor to J.C.Daniel who is the Father of Malayalam Cinema.
J.C.Daniel was a Dentist by profession and lived in Trivandrum  and his roots were in Tamil Nadu.He was a very wealthy person who owned large area of land in Trivandrum and Tamil Nadu.He mastered in the martial arts of Kerala 'Kalaripayattu' and was very much impressed by that.He thought that he should give wide publicity for this legendary  art form and  he selected  cinema as a media for communicating to the people.It was during the 1925 period and at that time cinema was in the childhood stage in India.Only silent movies without soundtrack was
exhibited and a commentator who sits beside the screen would narrate what is happening on the screen and also
tells the dialogues also.Since Cinema  was a new invention and an attractive media people were thrilled and viewed other language films and
foreign  films. Films were exhibited in  a few permanent theaters existed in that period  and also at touring theaters.
Very much impressed about  the cinema J.C.Daniel went to Chennai where there was a  film Studio functioning  at that time.He was not allowed to enter there to know about cinema but he proceeded to Mumbai.There at Mumbai he got opportunity  to understand all aspects about cinema production and the instruments  needed for the production of films and processing.He came back to Trivandrum and sold all his properties for Rs.4 Lakhs which was a huge amount those days  and set up a Studio for Cinema Production at  Pattom in Trivandrum city itself.
J.C.Daniel wrote the story,Scripted it,Directed it and done editing also by himself 
in the name 'Vigatha Kumaran'(Lost child).At that time females  were not allowed to enter into acting profession since it was  considered as a sin.In the film a  young woman  by name 'Rosie' was acting as the heroine.The childhood days of the hero was acted by J.C.Daniel's son itself.J.C.Daniel also handled a major role in the movie.When the film was ready he felt very happy because he had fulfilled his dream project.There was only one print and it was exhibited at the theater in Trivandrum.
When the female character entered on the screen the spectators realized that she was a keralite woman and
they protested.Some of the viewers threw stones on the projector and screen   and the show had to be  discontinued.
J.C.Daniel lost his confidence but at some other centers like Alleppey it was well accepted and people did not bother about the Malayali heroine.There were only ten or twelve permanent theaters in Kerala at that period and the
collections from the film did not meet the expenses.J.C.Daniel could not move ahead with more projects even though he made a documentary film about martial arts 'Kalari Payattu' .He became bankrupt and had to sell his studio.He went to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and continued with his Dentistry profession.Meanwhile
the heroine 'Rosie' also was  not allowed to live peacefully in Kerala by her neighbours and  she fled to Tamil Nadu
and settled down by marrying somebody from there.
Since the number of theaters were very less  the film was not a success and 
the heroine problem also worked against Daniel's dreams and expectations.We should appreciate his abilities to acquire full knowledge
about cinema at that period and to utilize it successfully all alone.The story and screenplay were also not bad.He was having ideas
and if the film would have been a success  heshould have made a lot of films from his Studio.
Rs.4 Lakh in 1928 was  a huge amount  and now it can be taken as 4 crores and he lost all for the  sake of Malayalam cinema  and  we should thank him for initiating Malayalam Film Production.
Add caption


Scene from 'Vigatha Kimaran'
.  'Vigatha Kumaran' is the first Malayalam film (silent movie).

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