P. Subramaniam

P. Subramaniam (1910–1979) was an Indian film producer, film director, distributor, theatre owner, and mayor. He is the founder of Merryland Studio (established in 1951), the second film studio in Kerala.[1]

P. Subramaniam
Born(1910-02-19)19 February 1910
Died4 October 1979(1979-10-04) (aged 69)
  • Film director
  • producer
  • mayor
Spouse(s)C. Meenakshi Ammal
ChildrenS. Kumar, T.S Padmanabhan, M.Leela, M.S Sivakumar, S. Karthikeyan, S. Murugan

From mid-1950s to late 1970s, he has produced 69 films of which 59 films were directed by himself. His Kumara Sambhavam won the first ever Kerala State Film Award for Best Film. His Rendangazhi won the National Award. He contributed the proceedings from his movie Swamy Ayyappan for the development of Sabarimala in Kerala on which he constructed a road named as Swamy Ayappan road.

He contributions in cinema has significantly developed Malayalam cinema, by starting cinema exhibition houses, distributions, film studio, production company for making films with both devotional and social themes. His venture Merryland Studio (established in 1951) was the second film production studio of Kerala, after its major competitor Udaya Studio. The films were produced under the banner of Neela Productions.

Early lifeEdit

P. Subramaniam was born to Padmanabha Pillai and Neelammal in Nagercoil,[1] (present-day Kanyakumari District) on 19 February 1910. He joined college in Thiruvananthapuram for his intermediate course. He, however, did not complete the course as he got posted as a clerk in Trivandrum Water Works, the water authority.[1]

At Trivandrum Water Works, the first order of installion of water supply came from Kowdiar Palace of the Travancore royal family. It was during this project that his hard work and honesty made an impression with members of the royal family and the Diwan of Travancore, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer.[1]

One year later, Subramaniam joined the government Stationery Department, where he continued to make an impression with the Diwan.[1]



His connections with the Diwan and the royal household helped him quit his job and start his first business - a bus service in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of erstwhile Travancore.[1] Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer first helped him buy an eight-seater vehicle.[1] Subramaniam later added two more buses to his fleet.

Early productionsEdit

When the Travancore government decided to start renovation works in and around Thampanoor railway station (Trivandrum Central station), the Diwan helped Subramaniam get a piece of marshy land near the railway station, on lease.[1] Subramaniam decided to fill the marshy land and start a Theatre. Thus, 'New Theatre' came into being in Thiruvananthapuram. New Theatre is still a prominent cinema theatre in the city.

Even before this venture, Subramaniam produced Prahlada, a film that is believed to have been actually financed by the royal family.[1] Again, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer provided assistance to Subramaniam in this venture.

Merryland StudioEdit

Subramaniam later joined director K. Subramaniam as his assistant. It was in 1951 that he started producing films, when he started Merryland Studio in Thiruvananthapuram. Neela Productions, his production company, was named after his mother Neelammal. Named after Lord Subramanya and being a devotee himself, he used his namesake's picture as the studio emblem. His first film was 'Athmasakhi', released in 1952. It was the first released film of the legendary actor Sathyan, who later became one of the greatest actors ever in Malayalam film industry.

Subramaniam soon became a major figure in the film industry, and continued to produce and direct films. Along with his competitor M. Kunchacko, he was one of the pioneering figures of Malayalam film industry in its early days. They produced various types of films. Merryland was usually popular for producing epic films, like Bhakta Kuchela, Sree Rama Pattabhishekam, Snapaka Yohannan, Kumara Sambhavam, Sree Guruvayoorappan, Swami Ayyappan, Amba Ambika Ambalika and Sree Murugan. They also used socially relevant stories.

Subramaniam's films were also popular for their songs. Thirunainar Kurichi Madhavan Nair and Br Lakshmanan were the duo which created the songs during their early days. Subramaniam was also instrumental in developing the career of the popular singer Kamukara Purushothaman. In almost all Merryland films until 1970, the trio was used to add music. The songs like 'Athmavidyalayame', 'Eeswara Chinthayithonne', 'Naale Naale Ennayittu', etc. are very popular songs from this team. Later on, he also used lyricists like P. Bhaskaran, Vayalar Ramavarma, O. N. V. Kurup, Sreekumaran Thampi, etc. and musicians like G. Devarajan, M. S. Baburaj, V. Dakshinamoorthy and M. B. Sreenivasan.

Subramaniam continued to produce films until he died on 4 October 1979, at the age of 69. Now his company is run by his children. Merryland later was popular for remaking their old film Swami Ayyappan in TV serial format.





National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chelangad, Saji (28 December 2014). "Story of a pioneer and his studio". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  2. ^ "5th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  3. ^ "6th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2011.

External linksEdit