wiki:Gemini Pictures

Version 7 (modified by UshaR, 11 years ago) (diff)


Gemini Pictures

Aka Gemini Studios. Best-known Madras studio in the 40s for redefining the concept of mass entertainment with Chandralekha (1948), the first Madras film to break successfully into the Hindi cinema. S.S. Vasan started Gemini as a distribution agency, the Gemini Pics Circuit, distributing and partly financing films by [[K. Subramanyam]]’s Motion Pics Producers Combine. When the Combine went bankrupt, Vasan bought the studio in 1939 at public auction for a mere Rs 86,427-11 (Annas)-9 (Paise) (according to Randor Guy). The studio’s début feature was probably [[Balkrishna Narayan Rao]]’s Madanakamarajan (1941), but it only took off when cameraman-scenarist K. Ramnoth? joined it along with his Vauhini partner, art-director A.K. Sekhar. This team made most of Gemini’s early features: Mangamma Sapatham (1943), Kannamma En Kadhali (1945) and Miss Malini (1947) before the Chandralekha blitz catapulted it on to the national stage.

In the early days, the most important event in the studio was Uday Shankar’s dance extravaganza Kalpana (released 1948) which also provided training for most of Gemini’s technicians as well as providing the model for an Orientalist dance idiom later associated with influential Tamil choreographers like Hiralal and Chopra Master. A few minor hits followed Chandralekha before the studio’s second major onslaught on the national box office with Apoorva Sahodarargal? (1949), a trilingual that established the studio’s dominance in the genre of the costumed adventure movie. Although its Hindi version Nishan? was not a major success, Vasan continued making Hindi films, often signing them himself: e.g. the Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand film Insaniyat (1955), Vyjayanthimala?’s Raj Tilak (1958) and Paigham (1959) starring Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. They also made the megabudget Tamil classic Avvaiyyar (1953). An important later production was Motor Sundaram Pillai (1966), [[Sivaji Ganesan]]’s only film at this studio. In 1958 the studio expanded into the Gemini Colour lab, licensed by Eastmancolor Kodak film. After Vasan’s death, his son S.S. Balasubramanyam produced the unsuccessful Ellorum Nallavare (1975). Gemini’s productions declined in the 70s, although it remained successful as a studio and equipment rental business now taken over by the Anand Cine Services.