Chandralekha (1948 film)
Chandralekha (also spelt Chandraleka)[b] is a 1948 Indian historical adventure film produced and directed by S. S. Vasan. Starring T. R. Rajakumari, M. K. Radha and Ranjan in the lead roles, the film follows two brothers (Veerasimhan and Sasankan) who fight over ruling their father's kingdom and marrying the village dancer, Chandralekha.
Theatrical-release poster of the Tamil version
|Directed by||S. S. Vasan|
|Produced by||S. S. Vasan|
|Written by||K. J. Mahadevan|
|Starring||T. R. Rajakumari|
M. K. Radha
|Music by||S. Rajeswara Rao (songs)|
M. D. Parthasarathy (background music)
|Distributed by||Gemini Studios|
Its development began during the early 1940s when, after two successive box-office hits, Vasan announced that his next film would be entitled Chandralekha. However, when the producer launched an advertising campaign for the film he only had the name of the heroine from a Gemini Studios storyline he had rejected. Veppathur Kittoo (one of Vasan's storyboard artists) developed a story based on a chapter of George W. M. Reynolds' novel, Robert Macaire: or, The French bandit in England. Original director T. G. Raghavachari left the film more than halfway through because of disagreements with Vasan, who took over in his directorial debut.
Originally made in Tamil and later in Hindi, Chandralekha spent five years in production (1943–1948). It underwent a number of scripting, filming and cast changes, and was the most-expensive film made in India at the time. Vasan mortgaged all his property and sold his jewellery to complete the film, whose cinematographers were Kamal Ghosh and K. Ramnoth. The music, largely inspired by Indian and Western classical music, was composed by S. Rajeswara Rao and M. D. Parthasarathy with lyrics by Papanasam Sivan and Kothamangalam Subbu.
Chandralekha was released on 9 April 1948. Although the film received generally-positive reviews, it did not recoup its production costs. Vasan directed a Hindi version with some changes, including some re-shot scenes, a slightly altered cast, and Hindi dialogues from Agha Jani Kashmiri and Pandit Indra. The Hindi version was released on 24 December of that year, becoming a box-office success. South Indian cinema became prominent throughout India with the film's release, and it inspired South Indian producers to market their Hindi films in North India. Dubbed in English, Japanese, Danish and other languages, it was screened at Indian and international film festivals.
Veerasimhan and Sasankan are the sons of a king. When Veerasimhan rides through a village, he meets a local dancer named Chandralekha and they fall in love. At the palace, the king decides to abdicate his throne in favour of Veerasimhan. This enrages Sasankan, Veerasimhan's younger brother, who forms a gang of thieves; they embark on a crime spree. Chandralekha's father is injured in the ensuing chaos, and dies shortly afterwards. The orphaned Chandralekha joins a band of travelling musicians, whose caravan is raided by Sasankan's gang.
Sasankan orders Chandralekha to dance for him (which she does only after being flogged), but she soon escapes. He later ambushes Veerasimhan and takes him prisoner. Chandralekha watches Sasankan's men imprison Veerasimhan in a cave and seal its entrance with a boulder. She rescues him with the aid of elephants from a passing circus troupe. Veerasimhan and Chandralekha join the circus to hide from Sasankan's men. When Sasankan returns to the palace he imprisons his parents, declares himself king and sends a spy to find Chandralekha.
The spy sees Chandralekha performing in the circus, and tries to capture her. Veerasimhan saves her; they escape and join a group of gypsies. When Veerasimhan goes to find help, Sasankan's men capture Chandralekha and bring her to the palace. When Sasankan tries to woo Chandralekha, she pretends to faint every time he approaches her. One of her circus friends comes to Sasankan disguised as a gypsy healer and claims that she can cure Chandralekha of her "illness". Behind locked doors, the two women talk. Sasankan is pleased to find Chandralekha miraculously cured and apparently ready to accept him as her husband; in return, he agrees to her request for a drum dance at the royal wedding.
Huge drums are arranged in rows in front of the palace. Chandralekha joins the dancers, who dance on the drums. Sasankan is impressed with Chandralekha's performance but, unknown to him, Veerasimhan's soldiers are hiding inside the drums. As the dance ends, they rush out and attack Sasankan's men. Veerasimhan confronts Sasankan, and their lengthy sword fight ends with Sasankan's defeat and imprisonment. Veerasimhan releases his parents and becomes the new king, with Chandralekha as his queen.
After the box office success of Bala Nagamma (1942) and Mangamma Sapatham (1943), producer S. S. Vasan of Gemini Studios wanted his next film to be made on a grand scale, with no budgetary constraints. He asked the story department—K. J. Mahadevan, Kothamangalam Subbu, Sangu, Naina and Veppathur Kittoo—to write a screenplay. They saw Mangamma Sapatham and Bala Nagamma as "heroine-oriented stories", and suggested a similar story. The group told the story of Chandralekha, a tough woman who "outwits a vicious bandit, delivers the final insult by slashing off his nose and, as a finishing touch, fills the bloodied gaping hole with hot, red chilli powder". Vasan disliked the story's gruesomeness and vulgarity; he rejected it, but kept the heroine's name.
Without waiting for a full story, Vasan announced that his next project would be entitled Chandralekha and publicised it heavily. Despite hard work by Gemini's writers, the story was not ready three months later. Vasan grew impatient, and told the writers that he would shelve Chandralekha in favour of Avvaiyyar (1953). After he gave them one more week, Kittoo discovered George W. M. Reynolds' novel, Robert Macaire, or the French Bandit in England. In the first chapter, he read:
A dark night in rural England and a mail coach convoy drawn by horses trots its way down a deserted leafy highway when suddenly, Robert Macaire, the fierce bandit and his henchmen emerge from the surrounding darkness and rob the convoy. Hiding under a seat is a young woman fleeing from a harsh, unhappy home. She is a dancer and when she refuses to dance the bandit whips her into submission.
Vasan was impressed when Kittoo told him a story based on the chapter. He decided to continue with the film, and named the heroine Chandralekha. Although the story was developed by Kittoo, it was credited to the entire Gemini story department. T. G. Raghavachari was hired as director.
|T. R. Rajakumari||...||Chandralekha|
|M. K. Radha||...||Veerasimhan|
|Sundari Bai||...||Circus performer|
|N. S. Krishnan||...||Circus artist|
|T. A. Mathuram||...||Circus artist|
|L. Narayana Rao||...||Circus manager|
The script had two major roles: princes in a kingdom, the elder of whom was the hero and the younger the villain. M. K. Radha was offered the part of Sasankan, the younger prince. Since he was then known for heroic roles, Radha was unwilling to play a villain and instead agreed to play the older prince, Veerasimhan. His wife Gnanambal persuaded Vasan to cast Radha in the role. K. J. Mahadevan (a member of Gemini's story department) was chosen by Vasan to play Sasankan; although some footage of Mahadevan was filmed, his performance was considered "too soft" and he was removed; however, he remained on the project as a scriptwriter and assistant director. When Raghavachari suggested Ranjan as Sasankan, Vasan was reluctant; although the producer initially considered the actor too effeminate to play a "steel-hard villain", Vasan eventually relented. Ranjan had committed to B. N. Rao's Saalivaahanan (1945), but Kittoo persuaded him to test for Chandralekha and Rao gave the actor a few days off. The screen test was successful, and Ranjan was cast.
T. R. Rajakumari was chosen to play Chandralekha replacing Vasan's first choice, K. L. V. Vasantha. Film historian Randor Guy believed Vasan chose Rajakumari over Vasantha because she was leaving Gemini Studios for Modern Theatres. In April 1947 N. S. Krishnan, who had been convicted in the Lakshmikanthan murder case, was released from prison on appeal; Vasan recruited him and T. A. Mathuram to play the circus artists who help Veerasimhan rescue Chandralekha from Sasankan. The script was rewritten, with scenes added to showcase the comic duo. P. A. Subbiah Pillai who played Vekatachallam in Gemini's Mangamma Sapatham, was credited as Subbiah Pillai and played Chandralekha's father. Madurai Sriramulu Naidu and S. N. Lakshmi made their acting debuts in the film; Naidu had an uncredited role as a horseman, and Lakshmi was a dancer in the climactic drum-dance scene.
Struggling stage actor V. C. Ganeshamurthy (later known as Sivaji Ganesan), who had contacted Kittoo several times for a role in Chandralekha, was interested in a minor role as Veerasimhan's bodyguard and grew his hair long for the part. Kittoo eventually brought Ganeshamurthy to Vasan, who had seen him perform onstage. Vasan turned the actor down, calling him "totally unsuited for films" and telling him to choose another profession; the incident created a permanent rift between Vasan and Ganeshamurthy. The role of the bodyguard was eventually given to N. Seetharaman, who later became known as Javar Seetharaman. Kothamangalam Subbu's wife, Sundari Bai, played a circus performer who helps Chandralekha escape from Sasankan.
T. A. Jayalakshmi, in one of her earliest film roles, appeared briefly in one scene as a dancer. L. Narayana Rao played the circus manager. T. E. Krishnamachari played the king, and V. N. Janaki a gypsy dancer who gives Chandralekha and Veerasimhan shelter in the forest. Cocanada Rajarathnam played the queen. Veppathur Kittoo played Sasankan's spy and was an assistant director. Pottai Krishnamoorthy appeared in the song "Naattiya Kuthirai". Other supporting actors included Seshagiri Bhagavathar, Appanna Iyengar, T. V. Kalyani, Surabhi Kamala, N. Ramamurthi, Ramakrishna Rao, Sundara Rao, Sushila, Varalakshmi, Velayutham and "100 Gemini boys & 500 Gemini girls". Studio staff members, their families and passers-by were recruited as extras to play spectators in the circus scenes, and Vasan introduced Chandralekha in a voice-over during her circus performance.
Chandralekha began filming in 1943. Raghavachari directed more than half the film, but after differences of opinion with Vasan over the shooting of scenes at the Governor's Estate (now Raj Bhavan, Guindy) he left the project. Vasan took over, for his directorial debut.
The film did not originally include circus scenes. Vasan decided to add them halfway through production, and the screenplay was changed. For the scene where Veerasimhan is freed from a cave by elephants, "hundreds" of circus elephants were used. Kittoo travelled throughout South India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), seeing over 50 circuses before he chose the Kamala Circus Company and Parasuram Lion Circus; Vasan employed Kamala for a month. The circus scenes were shot by K. Ramnoth. Kittoo reminisced about the cinematographer's work:
In those days, we had no zoom lenses and yet Ramnoth did it. One night, while Chandralekha is performing on the flying trapeze, she notices the villain's henchman in the front row. She is on her perch high up and he is seated in a ringside chair. Shock hits her and to convey the shock the camera zooms fast from her to the man. Today, with a fast zoom shot it can be done very easily, but there was no such lens forty years ago. Ramnoth did it using the crane. He planned it well and rehearsed the shot for long. He took the shot 20 times and selected the best "take".
After Raghavachari's departure, the drum-dance scene he directed remained in the film. The scene involved 400 dancers and six months of daily rehearsals. It was designed by chief art director A. K. Sekhar, choreographed by Jayashankar and filmed with four cameras by Kamal Ghosh. Randor Guy estimated that the scene cost ₹500,000 (about US$105,000 in 1948); in his 2015 book, Madras Studios: Narrative, Genre, and Ideology in Tamil Cinema, Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai estimated that the scene cost ₹200,000—the entire budget of a typical Tamil film of the period.[c] The scene included the Kathakali and Bharatanatyam classical dances and the Sri Lankan Kandyan dance. A. Vincent, who later became an established cinematographer and director in Malayalam cinema, assisted Ghosh in this film.
During post-production, Vasan asked Ramnoth his opinion of the scene when hundreds of Veerasimhan's warriors storm the palace to rescue Chandralekha from Sasankan. Although the scene's photography, shots and action had been unanimously praised by others, Ramnoth was quiet before saying that the suspense might be ruined if the scene was shown uncut. This sparked a discussion; Vasan advised the editor Chandru to edit in accordance with Ramnoth's direction, and was impressed with the result. C. E. Biggs was the film's audio engineer.
Chandralekha was in production for five years (1943–1948), with changes to its story, cast and filming which generated substantial time and cost overruns. The film ultimately cost ₹3 million (about $600,000 in 1948),[c] and was the most-expensive Indian film at the time. Vasan mortgaged all his property, received financial assistance from The Hindu editor Kasturi Srinivasan and sold his jewellery to complete the film. Adjusted for inflation, Chandralekha would have cost $28 million in 2010. According to historian S. Muthiah, with the free-floating exchange rate in effect at the time it was the first film with a budget of over a million dollars made outside the United States.
Themes and influencesEdit
Although a period film, Chandralekha is not based on historical fact; its plot is based on the first chapter of Robert Macaire, or the French Bandit in England. Sasankan is based on Macaire and, according to film historian B. D. Garga, Chandralekha is "probably" based on a female dancer in the novel whom Macaire flogs when she refuses to dance; the film includes the scene from the novel. Garga noted that Chandralekha was also influenced by other Western literary and cinematic works, including the novel Blood and Sand (1908) and the films The Mark of Zorro (1920), Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Baghdad (1924) and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). In December 1964, film historian Jerzy Toeplitz called the film an "extension and development" of the mythological genre: "The characters are mortals but behave like heavenly beings, and their movements and gestures, like those of the gods and heroes of the Mahabharata are impregnated with the miraculous." Toeplitz wrote that the story was a "mere pretext to hold together the different episodes, each of which builds up like a circus turn: the tension mounts to a culminating point, whereupon the next episode immediately takes over." According to Roy Armes' 1987 book, Third World Film Making and the West, Uday Shankar's 1948 Kalpana (also filmed at Gemini Studios) inspired Vasan to make Chandralekha. In the 2003 Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema, the film is described as a "Ruritanian period extravaganza".
The climactic sword fight between Veerasimhan and Sasankan has been compared to the fight in the 1894 novel, The Prisoner of Zenda. In 1976, American film historian William K. Everson compared the comedians in Chandralekha to Laurel and Hardy. Although Randor Guy considers the film's drum-dance scene the first of its kind in Indian cinema, the 1947 film Naam Iruvar includes a scene when the lead actress' younger sister dances on drums to the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati's "Kottu Murase"; French film historian Yves Thoraval wrote that it "prefigured the dance that Chandralekha made famous the very next year." According to American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, the film "belongs to the same childhood continuum" as Fritz Lang's 1959 films The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb (which were set in India). In his 2009 book, 50 Indian Film Classics, film critic M. K. Raghavendra wrote that Chandralekha was constructed in a manner which "enables its narrative to incorporate elements drawn from virtually any kind of genre." According to Guy, the setting of the song "Naattiya Kuthirai" with Sundari Bai (including her dance and costume) were inspired by the 1943 musical film Coney Island. Film scholar Uma Vangal wrote that the film reflects Vasan's "vision of a truly democratic nation, based on equal rights for men and women" by portraying "a world where men and women work together to establish a rightful rule".
Chandralekha's soundtrack was composed by S. Rajeswara Rao, with lyrics by Papanasam Sivan and Kothamangalam Subbu. R. Vaidyanathan and B. Das Gupta collaborated with M. D. Parthasarathy on the background music. Rajeswara Rao recalled in a 1993 interview for The Hindu that it took him over a year to compose the film's music, with much of his time devoted to the drum-dance scene: "As the dancers performed, we used to rehearse and compose the music. It was done with incredibly few instruments. We used a piano, ten double-bass violins, and drums from Africa, Egypt, and Persia which we have acquired from an African War troupe." Rao's salary was ₹1,500. The music was influenced by Carnatic and Hindustani music, Latin American and Portuguese folk music and Strauss waltzes. According to M. K. Raghavendra, Chandralekha has "snatches from [Richard] Wagner and [Nikolai] Rimsky-Korsakov (Scherezade) being used at dramatic moments."
"Naattiya Kuthirai", not originally part of the film, was added during final production. Sundari Bai spent over a month rehearsing the song. M. D. Parthasarathy was the sole singer of "Aathoram Kodikkalam" and co-singer of "Naattiya Kuthirai". J. Cooling Rajaiah played accordion and piano in the film's gypsy song. The circus chorus was adapted from "The Donkey Serenade" in Robert Z. Leonard's 1937 film, The Firefly. Vasan offered most of the songs on the Hindi soundtrack to Uma Devi, who later became popularly known as Tun Tun. She initially hesitated, feeling that "[they] were beyond her capabilities", but was supported by Rajeswara Rao (who "worked hard on her"). "Sanjh Ki Bela", from the Hindi soundtrack, is loosely based on "Sanjh Ki Bela Panchhi Akela" from Jwar Bhata (1944). Chandralekha's music helped make it one of the most-successful Indian musical films of the 1940s, and it "created an atmosphere for a number of music directors influenced by Western music" in Tamil cinema. The film was a breakthrough for Uma Devi, despite breaching her contract with producer Abdur Rashid Kardar (who terminated her contract in retaliation). However, this and the "dwindling fortunes" of the film industry after India's independence from the British Raj eventually ended her career in playback singing.
In his 1997 book, Starlight, Starbright: The Early Tamil Cinema, Randor Guy said that Parthasarathy and Rajeswara Rao "created a fine blend of lilting music of many schools." Writing for Screen in April 1998, film historian M. Bhaktavatsala described Chandralekha's songs as "distinct and standing on [their] own, with barely any background score attempting to interlink anything, just periods of silence." Historian V. Sriram stated in 2018 that, although the film had no memorable songs, "Aayilo Pakiriyama", sung by Krishnan, Madhuram and Sundari Bai, was his favourite one.
|Tamil track listing|
|1.||"Indrae Enathu Kuthukalam"||T. R. Rajakumari||1:09|
|2.||"Aathoram Kodikkalam"||M. D. Parthasarathy, S. S. Mani Bhagavathar||2:23|
|3.||"Padathey Padathey Nee"||M. S. Sundari Bai||3:29|
|4.||"Naattiya Kuthirai"||M. D. Parthasarathy, M. S. Sundari Bai||4:09|
|6.||"Group Dance" (Instrumental)||—||1:25|
|7.||"Aayilo Pakiriyama"||N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Mathuram, M. S. Sundari Bai||3:10|
|8.||"Manamohana Saaranae"||T. R. Rajakumari||2:30|
|9.||"Murasu Aatam (Drum Dance)" (Instrumental)||—||5:59|
|Hindi track listing|
|1.||"Sajana Re Aaja Re"||Uma Devi||3:04|
|2.||"Man Bhavan Sawan Aaya"||Uma Devi||3:09|
|3.||"O Chand Mere"||Uma Devi||3:21|
|4.||"Maai Re Main To Madhuban Mein"||Uma Devi||2:33|
|5.||"Sanjh Ki Bela"||Uma Devi, T. A. Mothi||3:07|
|6.||"Mera Husn Lootne Aaya Albela"||Zohrabai Ambalewali, T. A. Mothi||2:41|
The first advertisement for Chandralekha appeared on the back cover of the songbook for the film, Dasi Aparanji (1944). In the advertisement, Vasantha was the heroine before she was replaced by Rajakumari.[d] With Chandralekha, Gemini was the first Tamil studio to attempt to distribute a film throughout India. According to film scholar P. K. Nair, it was the first Indian film with a full-page newspaper advertisement. In a 2010 Mumbai Mirror article, Vishwas Kulkarni wrote that ₹574,500 was spent on the film's newspaper publicity and ₹642,300 on posters, banners and billboards. Chandralekha's publicity campaign was the most expensive for an Indian film at the time; the publicity budget for a typical Indian film a decade earlier was about ₹25,000, and publicity for a "top Indian film" cost no more than ₹100,000 during the 1950s. According to Guy, the film's publicity campaign "made the nation sit up and take notice".
A. K. Shekhar designed the publicity material, which included posters, booklets and full-page newspaper advertisements. Gemini Studios, inspired by American cinema, also produced a publicity brochure for distribution to exhibitors and the press. It contained a synopsis of the film, a pictorial account of key plot points, and text for use by local theatres. The booklet also had layouts for women's pages, a pictorial account of suggested marketing activities (such as "How to drape an Indian sari: Theatre demonstrations have a big draw") and information about the film's costumes. The costumes were hand-woven silk and gold; one gold-embroidered riding jacket was considered "the most expensive piece of outfitting ever used in a motion picture."
Chandralekha was released on 9 April 1948 simultaneously in over 40 theatres throughout South India. A typical 1940s Tamil film was released in about ten towns, but Chandralekha was released simultaneously in 120 towns.
The film was released in Japan as Shakunetsu-no ketto (Fight Under the Red Heat) in April 1954, where it was distributed by Nippon Cinema Corporation (NCC). It was the first Tamil film dubbed in Japanese, and the second Indian film released in Japan; the first was the 1952 Hindi film Aan, which was released in Tokyo in January 1954. NCC later collapsed, and no information about Chandralekha's Japanese release survives. During the 1950s (when foreign currency was scarce in India), barter was a common means of exchange with overseas business partners; Reitaku University's Tamaki Matsuoka believes that this was the case with Chandralekha. An NCC pamphlet about the film called Vasan the "Cecil B. DeMille of the Indian film industry". A Danish version of the film, Indiens hersker (India's Ruler), was released on 26 April 1954. An abridged English-language version of Chandralekha, Chandra, was screened in the United States and Europe during the 1950s.
Despite the film's positive reviews and good box-office performance, it was unable to recover its large production costs; Vasan remade it in Hindi in an attempt to do so. The Hindi version, distributed by The Screens (a company in Bombay, now Mumbai), was released on 24 December 1948. With over 600 prints it was a commercial success, setting box-office records.[e] Vasan called Chandralekha "a pageant for our peasants", intended for "the war-weary public that had been forced to watch insipid war propaganda pictures for years." It was selected by the Indian government for screening at the fourth International Film Festival in Prague in 1949. The film's success made Madras a production centre for Hindi films. Five years after Chandralekha's success, Gemini paid its employees a bonus (one of the first studios in the world to do so).
Although exact figures for the film's box-office earnings are not available, film-trade websites provide estimates. Box Office India cited the Hindi version's nett earnings as ₹7 million, and said that it was the second-highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1948 (after Shaheed).[f] As of February 2009, the website gave Chandralekha's adjusted nett gross as ₹37,98,00,000. According to the 1998 book Indian cinema: A Visual Voyage, by India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Chandralekha grossed ₹20 million (US$290,000). Film historian B. D. Garga said in his 2005 book, Art Of Cinema, "The two versions—Tamil and Hindi—grossed millions." Sharmishtha Gooptu states in her 2010 book, Bengali Cinema: An Other Nation, that Chandralekha grossed ₹10 million (about $2,100,000 in 1948) in India.[c] A 2011 article by Namrata Joshi in Outlook says Chandralekha grossed ₹15.5 million with an audience of 30 million, "60% from rural India."
Chandralekha received generally-positive reviews from Indian critics. On 9 April 1948, an article from The Hindu said: "The Indian Screen has, indeed, in this Province or any other given us little that can bear comparison with Gemini's Chandraleka for the sheer magnificence of its backgrounds." In a review published on 10 April, a critic from The Indian Express article termed the film to be "essentially for the young of all ages and even the harassed house-wife will share the pleasure of children treated unexpectedly to a pride of lions, tigers, ponies and elephants showing their paces along with clowns and acrobats." A Dinamani article that day stated, "People who were depressed with the quality of our Tamil pictures so far can now raise their heads and hail proudly that a great picture can be produced in our land also." In contrast, Kumudam gave the film a lukewarm review: "Though the story is ordinary, the shocking events inserted into the narrative are something new to the Tamil cinema." The magazine criticised the film's songs and length, also noting the inconsistency in its time period where the king's office featured a wall clock and the king himself was writing with a quill. In its January 1949 issue Gundoosi magazine praised Chandralekha's Hindi version as an improvement on the Tamil version, noting that it had better dialogue and pacing.
V. A. K. Ranga Rao called it "the most complete entertainer ever made."[g] In their 1988 book, One Hundred Indian Feature Films: An Annotated Filmography, Anil Srivastava and Shampa Banerjee praised Chandralekha's grandeur, battle scenes and drum dance, which in their opinion was the film's "raison d'etre". In 2003, S. Muthiah called it "an epic extravaganza worthy of Cecil B. de. Mille" and "larger-than-life." In their 2008 book, Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance, Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti wrote that Chandralekha translated "the aesthetic of Hollywood Orientalism for an indigenous mass audience", while also opining the film's drum-dance scene was "perhaps one of the most spectacular sequences in Indian cinema." In his 2009 book, 50 Indian Film Classics, M. K. Raghavendra wrote: "Indian films are rarely constructed in a way that makes undistracted viewing essential to their enjoyment and Chandralekha is arranged as a series of distractions".
Raja Sen praised the film's set pieces, drum-dance sequence and the "longest swordfight ever captured on film" in May 2010 on Rediff, calling Chandralekha "just the kind of film, in fact, that would be best appreciated now after digital restoration." Randor Guy appreciated Rajakumari's performance in an October 2010 review, calling Chandralekha "her career-best" and saying that she "carried the movie on her shoulders." Guy also noted Radha was his "usual impressive self", saying that the film would be "remembered for: the excellent onscreen narration, the magnificent sets and the immortal drum dance sequence."
Reviewing the English version of Chandralekha, The New York Times called Rajakumari a "buxom beauty."[h] When the film was screened in New York City in 1976, William K. Everson said: "It's a colorful, naive and zestful film in which the overall ingenuousness quite disarms criticism of plot absurdity or such production shortcomings as the too-obvious studio "exteriors" ... Last but far from least, Busby Berkeley would surely have been delighted to see his influence extending to the climactic drum dance."
Jonathan Rosenbaum said in August 1981, "The prospect of a three-hour Indian film in [Tamil] with no subtitles is a little off-putting, I would say—wouldn't you?" However, Rosenbaum had "surprisingly little trouble following the plot and action" of the film: "This made-in-Madras costume drama makes for a pretty action-packed 186 minutes." In June 2009, K. S. Sivakumaran of Daily News Sri Lanka called Chandralekha "the first colossal [Tamil] film I saw." Malaysian author D. Devika Bai, writing for the New Straits Times in October 2013, praised its technical aspects: "At almost 68, I have not tired of watching the movie."
The Hindi version of Chandralekha was Vasan's first film in the language. For this version, Vasan re-shot several scenes and used a slightly different cast. Agha Jani Kashmiri and Pandit Indra wrote the dialogue for the Hindi version. Indra and Bharat Vyas were the lyricists for the Hindi version, and Kothamangalam Subbu and Papanasam Sivan wrote the lyrics for the Tamil version. Rajeswara Rao, who composed the soundtrack for both versions, was assisted by Bal Krishna Kalla on the Hindi version. Parthasarathy and Vaidyanathan composed the Hindi version's background music. The Tamil version was over 18,000 feet (5,500 m) long,[i] but the Hindi version was edited down to 14,495 feet (4,418 m).
Although Rajakumari, Radha and Ranjan reprised their roles in the Hindi version, Radha and Ranjan's characters were renamed. Radha's character (Veerasimhan) was Veer Singh in the Hindi version, and Ranjan's character (Sasankan) was renamed Shashank. Of the other cast members, N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Madhuram, T. E. Krishnamachari, Pottai Krishnamoorthy and N. Seetharaman appeared only in the Tamil version, and Yashodra Katju and H. K. Chopra appeared only in the Hindi version. Nearly the entire cast were credited in the Tamil version, but only six—Rajakumari, Radha, Ranjan, Sundari Bai, Katju and Narayana Rao—were credited in the Hindi version.
Sixty years ago the biggest box office hit of Tamil cinema was released. When made by the same studio in Hindi, it was so great a success that it opened up the theatres of the North to films made in the South. This is the story of the making of that film, Chandralekha.— Film historian and columnist Randor Guy
With the film's success, Vasan became known as one of the best directors in Indian cinema. Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, authors of Film History — An Introduction, called it "the biggest box-office hit of the decade." Guy later called Vasan the "Cecil B. DeMille of Tamil cinema", and called Chandralekha his "magnum opus." According to S. Muthiah, Vasan "pioneered making South Indian films in English." He inspired producer A. V. Meiyappan, who became a "master at publicity." The Hindi version's success gave South Indian producers the opportunity to market their Hindi films in North India. Chandralekha's publicity campaign had such an impact that Bombay producers passed a resolution that a limit should be imposed on advertisements for any film in periodicals. Vasan's Apoorva Sagodharargal (1949), also a success, is considered an unofficial sequel of the film.
Chandralekha enhanced Rajakumari's and Ranjan's careers; both became popular throughout India after the film's release. Its climactic sword-fight scene was well received, and is considered the longest sword fight in Indian cinematic history. The drum-dance scene is considered the film's highlight, and later producers tried unsuccessfully to emulate it. Producer-director T. Rajendar said that he was inspired by the scene for a song scene budgeted at ₹10 million (equivalent to ₹32 million or US$460,000 in 2018) in his 1999 film, Monisha En Monalisa. Film historian Firoze Rangoonwalla ranked Chandralekha's Hindi version eighth on his list of the top twenty films of Indian cinema. It was a major influence on Kamalakara Kameswara Rao's 1953 Telugu film, Chandraharam, featuring N. T. Rama Rao. On 26 August 2004, a postage stamp with Vasan and the drum dance was issued to commemorate the producer's centenary and the 35th anniversary of his death.
In July 2007, S. R. Ashok Kumar of The Hindu asked eight Tamil film directors to list their all-time favourite Tamil films; two—J. Mahendran and K. Balachander—named Chandralekha. Mahendran said, "If anybody tries to remake this black-and-white film, they will make a mockery of it." According to Balachander, "Just like Sivaji today, people talked about Chandralekha in the past. Produced at a cost of ₹30 lakhs ([₹3 million], a huge sum at that time), it has grand sets. I have seen it 12 times." In December 2008, Muthiah said: "Given how spectacular it was—and the appreciation lavished on it from 1948 till well into the 1950s, which is when I caught up with it—I'm sure that if re-released, it would do better at the box office than most Tamil films today." In a 2011 interview with Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), South Indian Bollywood actor Vyjayanthimala said that although people consider that she "paved the way" for other South Indian female actors in Hindi cinema, "the person who really opened the doors was S. S. Vasan ... When [Chandralekha was] released, it took the North by storm because by then they haven't seen that kind of lavish sets, costumes and splendour. So Vasan was the person who opened the door for Hindi films in the South."
Chandralekha was K. Ramnoth's last film for Gemini Studios. Although he is often credited with shooting the drum-dance sequence, Ramnoth left the studio in August 1947 (before the scene was conceived). Director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao told film critic Baradwaj Rangan that he disliked Chandralekha when he first saw it and recognised it as a classic only after 25 years, "a fact that the audiences realised in just two minutes." Film producer and writer G. Dhananjayan told The Times of India, "When you talk of black-and-white films, you cannot resist mentioning the 1948 epic Chandralekha ... That film's grandeur, be it in the sets, costumes, songs, dances and the fight sequences, still remains a benchmark even this day of colour and 3D films." In April 2012, Rediff included the film on its "A to Z of Tamil Cinema" list and said that Chandralekha "boasted an ensemble cast, great production values and a story that ensured it became a blockbuster all over India, the first of its kind."
It has been screened at many film festivals, and was shown in December 2012 at the 10th Chennai International Film Festival (a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema). Chandralekha was screened in April 2013 at the Centenary Film Festival, organised by India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the National Film Archive. It was one of eight Indian films screened at the 28th Italian Il Cinema Ritrovato in 2014 as part of "The Golden 50s: India's Endangered Classics", the festival's first Indian-cinema retrospective.[j] In his Times of India review of Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), M. Suganth wrote that director S. S. Rajamouli had "take[n] his cues [for its visuals] from varied sources" (including Chandralekha). In a November 2015 interview with Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu, actor Kamal Haasan said: "Visual appeal has always gone hand-in-hand with content, since the days of Chandralekha and [Mayabazar], not just after Baahubali."
- UNESCO lists its runtime as 193 minutes, but One Hundred Indian Feature Films: An Annotated Filmography, Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema and India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting lists it at 207 minutes.
- Although the title card of the Tamil version reads Chandraleka, the Hindi version's title card reads Chandralekha, a spelling which has also been used frequently for the Tamil version.
- The 1948 exchange rate was 4.79 Indian rupees (₹) to one US dollar ($).
- Although S. Muthiah said the film's first announcement came in 1943, Randor Guy said in his book Starlight, Starbright that an early advertisement for Chandralekha appeared on the inside cover of the Nandanar songbook, which was published in September 1942.
- According to The Times of India, the film was released with 609 prints worldwide; film historian S. Theodore Baskaran says it was released with 603 prints.
- According to Box Office India, film tickets are subject to an "entertainment tax" in India and this tax is added to the ticket price at the box-office window. The amount of tax varies by state. "Nett gross figures are always after this tax has been deducted; gross figures are before the tax was deducted." Since 2003, the entertainment tax rate has significantly decreased; since 2010 a film's gross earnings can be 30–35 percent higher than nett gross, depending on where a film is released.
- The comment by Ranga Rao appears in Randor Guy's 1997 book, Starlight, Starbright: The Early Tamil Cinema. The year of the comment is not given.
- The comment by The New York Times appears in the August 2007 issue of the magazine Galatta Cinema. The year of the comment is not given.
- While film historian Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai claims the Tamil version was 18,634 feet (5,680 m) long, the Tamil newspaper Maalai Malar claims it was 18,364 feet (5,597 m) long.
- The other seven were Awara (1951), Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Pyaasa (1957), Mother India (1957), Ajantrik (1958), Madhumati (1958) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959).
- "Memory of the World: National Cinematic Heritage" (PDF). UNESCO. 1995. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, p. 58; Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 310.
- "43rd INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA – 2012" (PDF). Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
- Muthiah, S. (8 December 2008). "A 'Cecil B. DeMillean' Chandralekha". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 0:33.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Hindi). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 0:26.
- Guy, Randor (2 October 2010). "Blast from the Past: Chandralekha (1948)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Guy 1997, p. 245.
- Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, p. 58.
- Guy, Randor (December 2008). "... And thus he made Chandralekha sixty years ago". Madras Musings. Vol. XVIII. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Guy 1997, p. 246.
- Guy, Randor (20 April 1991). "Chandralekha: The finest ever entertainer". The Indian Express. p. 19.
- Guy 1997, pp. 246–247.
- Kamalaharan, C. (June 2014). "Chandralekha — The First Colossal Tamil Movie". Monsoon Journal. p. 26.
- Guy, Randor (21 June 2014). "Blast From The Past — Aval Yaar (1957)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- Guy 1997, p. 247.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 1:23.
- Guy, Randor (26 June 2011). "Blast from the Past — Saalivaahanan 1945". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Guy, Randor (29 February 2008). "Remembering Vasantha". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Gangadharan, V. (24 August 2009). "Alleged celebrity crime in 1944". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- Vasan, S. S. (1943). Mangamma Sapatham (motion picture) (in Tamil). Gemini Studios. Opening credits, from 2:06 to 2:20.
- Vasan, S. S. (1948). Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). Gemini Studios. Chandralekha's house, from 9:19 to 13:32.
- Guy, Randor (6 March 2011). "Blast from the Past — Madanamala 1948". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "SN Lakshmi passes away". Sify. 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Rangarajan, Malathi (28 May 2010). "Courage goaded her on ..." The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Guy 1997, p. 248.
- Guy, Randor (18 June 2011). "Blast from the past — Pizhaikkum Vazhi (1948)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Guy 1997, p. 152.
- Guy 1997, pp. 247–248.
- Guy 1997, p. 249.
- Guy, Randor (23 September 2010). "Unsung veteran of Tamil cinema". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 0:45.
- "725 நாட்கள் படப்பிடிப்பு நடந்த 'சந்திரலேகா'!" [Chandralekha, which was shot in 725 days!]. Dina Thanthi (in Tamil). 14 November 2015. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Before Baahubali and Rajamouli, This Man Made Spectacular Films". NDTV. 28 July 2015. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- Baskaran, S. Theodore (2013). "The elephant in Tamil films". New Delhi: Seminar Publications. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Garga 2005, p. 119.
- Guy, Randor (5 October 2013). "The forgotten heroes". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Guy, Randor (4 August 2012). "Blast from the Past — Doctor Savithri: 1955". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Guy, Randor (19 January 2013). "Blast from the Past — Rohini 1953". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Guy, Randor (16 October 2015). "The wizard of lens". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Pillai 2015, p. 155.
- "Rupee's journey since Independence: Down by 65 times against dollar". The Economic Times. 24 August 2013. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ranga Rao, V. A. K. (2015). "Hindi film dance". New Delhi: Seminar Publications. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- Venkiteswaran, C. S. (27 February 2015). "Guiding light of Malayalam cinema". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
- Krishnaswamy, N. (5 November 2004). "What made Vasan different". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 March 2006. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Garga 2005, p. 117.
- "ரூ.30 லட்சம் செலவில் தயாரான சந்திரலேகா" [Chandralekha was made on a budget of ₹30 crores]. Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- Rajakarunanayake, Lucien (2 June 2010). "The star trek from Chintamani to Vijay". The Sri Lanka Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Muthiah, S. (8 December 2003). "When the postman knocked". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Dwyer & Patel 2002, p. 144.
- Guy 1997, p. 246; Garga 2005, p. 118.
- Garga 2005, p. 118.
- Toeplitz, Jerry (23 December 1964). "Indian films and Western audiences" (PDF). UNESCO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- Armes 1987, pp. 114–115.
- Gulazāra, Nihalani & Chatterjee 2003, p. 432.
- Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, p. 59; Raghavendra 2009, p. 34.
- "Spectacle, Music & Action!". Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. 1981. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Baskaran 1996, p. 102.
- Thoraval 2000, p. 39.
- Rosenbaum, Jonathan (20 August 1981). "August Humor". Jonathanrosenbaum.net. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Raghavendra 2009, p. 34.
- Guy, Randor (24 March 2006). "Charming, villainous". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- Vangal, Uma (2014). "Indian Retrospective: "The Golden '50s: India's Endangered Classics"". Film Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 1:43.
- Narasimham, M. L. (12 March 1993). "Trend-setter in Light Music". The Hindu.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 310; Garga 2005, p. 120.
- Bhaktavatsala, M. (24 April 1998). "Music in the Movies". Screen. p. 36.
- Nainar, Nahla (8 July 2016). "The uncrowned Raja of sacred music". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- Baskaran 1996, p. 60; Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 310.
- Kaur, Devinder Bir (7 December 2003). "Hindi cinema's first-ever comedienne". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "Woes & Echoes". Filmindia. July 1949. p. 70. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014.
- Vijayakar 2009, p. 16.
- Religion and Society, Volume 12. Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society. 1965. p. 103.
- Pandya, Haresh (8 January 2004). "Obituary: Tun Tun". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Guy 1997, p. 250.
- Sriram, V. (19 June 2018). "Remembering Ayilo Pakariyama!!". Madras Heritage and Carnatic Music. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. DVD menu. Raj Video Vision
- "Chandralekha (1948)". Raaga.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Unny, Divya (16 March 2014). "B-Town rewind: The tale of the first Bollywood crore". Mid Day. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- Kulkarni, Vishwas (18 April 2010). "When illusions were painted". Mumbai Mirror. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Dwyer & Patel 2002, pp. 144–145.
- Natesan, G. A. (1948). "Chandraleka". The Indian Review. Vol. 49. p. 333.
- Matsuoka, Tamaki (2008). Asia to Watch, Asia to Present: The Promotion of Asian/Indian Cinema in Japan (PDF). Senri Ethnological Studies, Reitaku University. p. 246. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011.
- "Rajini's Muthu wasn't the first Tamil film in Japanese". The Times of India. 10 May 2014. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Indiens hersker". Danish Film Institute. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Ashokamitran 2016, p. 69.
- Soman, Sandhya (29 June 2013). "Southern stars shine bright in the north". Times Crest. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Gangadhar, V. (3 July 2011). "Southern splendour". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Pictures in Making". Filmindia. December 1948. p. 72. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016.
- "Statistics of Chandralekha in two versions: Tamil and Hindustani ending 31st December, 1949". Filmindia. March 1950.
- "Costliest film in Kollywood!". The Times of India. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Baskaran 1996, p. 203.
- Chander 2003, p. 135.
- Ranade 2006, p. 127.
- Shah 1950, pp. 83, 278.
- Vijayakar 2009, p. 15.
- Baskaran 2009, p. 104.
- "Box Office 1948". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Box Office in India Explained". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Top Earners 1940–1949". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Indian cinema: A Visual Voyage 1998, p. 103.
- Gooptu 2010, p. 133.
- Joshi, Namrata (19 September 2011). "Reeling It All In". Outlook. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "The Press Acclaims". The Indian Express. Madras. 29 April 1948. p. 8.
- "Chandraleka". The Indian Express. Madras. 10 April 1948. p. 8. Archived from the original on 11 April 2017.
- Pillai 2015, p. 189.
- Pillai 2015, p. 186.
- Guy 1997, p. 244.
- Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, p. 59.
- Muthiah, S. (26 November 2003). "Sign of the Twins". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 June 2004. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Gopal & Moorti 2008, p. 26.
- Raghavendra 2009, p. 36.
- Sen, Raja (11 May 2010). "Ten Indian classics craving digital restoration". Rediff.com. p. 4. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Guy, Randor (August 2007). "From Silents to Sivaji! A look into the past — Part II". Galatta Cinema. p. 68.
- Sivakumaran, K. S. (8 June 2009). "Indian film music: An amalgam of different tunes". Daily News. Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Devika Bai, D. (26 October 2013). "Enduring romance with the West". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Gooptu 2010, p. 132.
- Pillai 2015, p. 116.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Hindi). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 1:11.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Hindi). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 1:16.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Hindi). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 1:21.
- "NCPA Flashback | Chandralekha". Mumbai: National Centre for the Performing Arts. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 310.
- Chandralekha (motion picture) (in Hindi). India: Gemini Studios. 1948. Event occurs at 0:45.
- Thompson & Bordwell 2003, p. 407.
- Guy, Randor (30 March 2013). "Sri Kandha Leela 1938". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Ravi, Bhama Devi (8 August 2008). "Kollywood turns to coffee-table books". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Guy 1997, p. 251.
- Blamey, D'Souza & Dickey 2005, p. 57.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 312.
- Vasanthan, J. (16 July 2005). "Heroines of the past". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Gokulsing & Dissanayake 2004, p. 49.
- "Extravaganza". Rediff.com. 28 October 1998. Archived from the original on 21 October 1999. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Drama in reel life". Rediff.com. 1 December 1998. Archived from the original on 8 February 1999. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Rangoonwalla, Firoze (15 November 1999). "Moving Images". Outlook. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Thoraval 2000, p. 350.
- "Stamp on S.S. Vasan released". The Hindu. 27 August 2004. Archived from the original on 11 September 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Kumar, S. R. Ashok (13 July 2007). "Filmmakers' favourites". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Camera does wonders today: Vyjayanthimala". India Today. IANS. 21 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (4 November 2011). "Lights, Camera, Conversation ..."Crouched around a campfire storyteller"". Baradwaj Rangan. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Suganth, M. (2 March 2012). "Black and white films in Kollywood". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Special: The A to Z of Tamil Cinema". Rediff.com. 18 April 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Kamath, Sudhish (3 December 2012). "Showcase of the best". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- "Highlights of 10th CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL". Chennai International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Rakheja, Henna (30 April 2013). "Films that saw it all over 100 years". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- Bordwell, David (12 July 2014). "Il Cinema Ritrovato: Strands from the 1950s and 1960s". Davidbordwell.net. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Chatterji, Shoma A. (29 March 2015). "Films in time capsule". The Free Press Journal. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "'Endangered' Indian classic cinema at Italy film festival". The Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 30 June 2014. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Suganth, M. (11 July 2015). "Baahubali: The Beginning". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Dundoo, Sangeetha Devi (3 November 2015). "'My focus is to give quality films at great speed'". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
- Armes, Roy (1987). Third World Film Making and the West. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05690-6.
- Ashokamitran (2016). Fourteen Years with Boss. India: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-342329-4.
- Banerjee, Shampa; Srivastava, Anil (1988). One Hundred Indian Feature Films: An Annotated Filmography. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-84098-3.
- Baskaran, S. Theodore (1996). The eye of the serpent: an introduction to Tamil cinema. East West Books.
- Baskaran, S. Theodore (2009). History through the lens: perspectives on South Indian cinema. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 9788125035206.
- Blamey, David; D'Souza, Robert; Dickey, Sara (2005). Living Pictures: Perspectives on the Film Poster in India. Open Editions. ISBN 978-0-949004-15-4.
- Chander, Prakash (2003). India: Past and Present. ISBN 81-7648-455-5.
- Dwyer, Rachel; Patel, Divia (2002). Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film. Reaktion Books. ISBN 0-19-566347-0.
- Garga, B. D. (2005). Art Of Cinema. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-0-670-05853-2.
- Gokulsing, K. Moti; Dissanayake, Wimal (2004). Indian Popular Cinema: A Narrative of Cultural Change. Trentham Books. ISBN 1-85856-329-1.
- Gooptu, Sharmistha (2010). Bengali Cinema: An Other Nation. ISBN 978-81-7436-816-4.
- Gopal, Sangita; Moorti, Sujata (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4578-7.
- Gulazāra; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
- Guy, Randor (1997). Starlight, Starbright: The Early Tamil Cinema. Amra Publishers.
- National Film Development Corporation of India (1998). Indian cinema: A Visual Voyage. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. ISBN 9788123006468.
- Pillai, Swarnavel Eswaran (2015). Madras Studios: Narrative, Genre, and Ideology in Tamil Cinema. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-93-5150-212-8.
- Raghavendra, M. K. (2009). 50 Indian Film Classics. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-81-7223-866-7.
- Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1998) . Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (PDF). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563579-5.
- Ranade, Ashok (2006). Hindi Film Song: Music Beyond Boundaries. ISBN 81-85002-64-9.
- Shah, Panna (1950). The Indian film. Greenwood Press.
- Thompson, Kristin; Bordwell, David (2003). Film History — An Introduction. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-0-07-115141-2.
- Thoraval, Yves (2000). The cinemas of India. Macmillan India. ISBN 0-333-93410-5.
- Vijayakar, Rajiv (2009). The History of Indian Film Music: A Showcase of the Very Best in Hindi Cinema. Bennett, Coleman & Company. ISBN 9788189906818.