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Murugadasa (b. 1900)'

Pioneering Tamil director and producer, originally A. Muthuswamy Iyer. Graduate from St Joseph’s College, Tiruchi; journalist for The Mail, Madras; edited the film journal Sound and Shadow, one of South India’s first English film journals. Assisted Baburao Pendharkar in Prabhat’s Tamil film Seeta Kalyanam (1933), making his début with cameraman Ramnoth and set designer A.K. Sekhar. The trio then started the influential Vel Pics in Adyar, Madras: e.g. Markandeya and later Paduka Pattabhishekham (co-d Ramnoth), which introduced the actor, musician and director S. Balachander who played a magician in the film. Started the Karthikeya Films Studio (1937) but returned to journalism when it burnt down. His best-known film is Nandanar, a reform drama addressing Untouchability and featuring the Carnatic musician Dandapani Desigar. Worked with the Cine Technicians’ Association, editing their journal, apparently living on Union premises.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1935: Bhakta Ramadasa; Markandeya; 1936: Paduka Pattabhishekham; Pattinathar; 1937: Sundaramurthy Nayanar; 1940: Urvashi Sahasam; Bhakti; 1941: Venuganam; 1942: Nandanar; 1948: Gnanasoundari.