The cinema of South India is used to refer collectively the four distinct film industries of South India – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries – as a single entity. They are based in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Bangalore.
Although developed independently for a long period of time, gross exchange of film performers and technicians as well as globalisation helped to shape this new identity in Indian Cinema. Good Cinema is made in every industry. Just because Hindi language is spoken on larger scale, Hindi movie has larger reach. I can see some answers stating DDLJ, Sholay were all much talked overseas but none of the south movie is listed. Stereotypes are in every industry. Bollywood still has that DDLJ kind of screenplay even today. South movies especially Telugu and Tamil movies have commercial story lines where heroes does all sorts of anti-gravity things. For me Bollywood cinema is like having a fine dine in a restaurant. I can’t do that everyday. But ok once in a while. Movies like Hicchki, 3 Idiots, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Airlift, Hyder, Chak De India, etc. (These came to my mind while writing this) are those kind of movies which made me think that we have actors and directors in Bollywood who make movies worth watching. But I must accept crap is the word I should use for majority of Bollywood films. They’re boring. I never had that connect to story most of the times while watching movie on screen.
South movies are more content driven. Yes, heroes and directors hate physics laws, yes, senseless song and fight sequences happen but, the story keeps you engaged The industry is regulated by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce. The combined revenue of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam , and Kannada cinema industries represent over 50% of the total revenue of Indian cinema.
Cinema made its appearance in India at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the country was poised for major social and political changes. A society that had remained unchanged for centuries was being transformed in the face of technological innovations. Cars, airplanes, radio broadcasts and photograph records had recently been introduced, bringing with them new status symbols as well as access to foreign ideas. At the same time, the press had become a new force in the formation of public opinion as regional language newspapers, including those in Tamil, were being published around the country. It was against this background that cinema arrived. In the decades that followed it was to assume the dimensions of a major socio-cultural force.
The role of cinema as an agency of modernization is discussed by Daniel Lerner in his book, The Passing of a Traditional Society, a study of mass media in the Middle East. When cinema appeared in South India, it played a similar role. First of all, it created a space in which all castes could come to gather, purchase a ticket and watch a common entertainment. That had never happened before. Whereas traditional entertainment forms and recreational facilities had catered to exclusive sections of a rigidly stratified society, cinema was an entertainment form that anyone could afford and attend. It cut across the hierarchical strata of caste and class. Unlike dance, music, sculpture, painting and literature, cinema is not indigenous to India. It came as a new mechanical medium of visual narration at a time when the visual arts and the narrative arts were at low ebb, after a century of colonial rule. Bypassing the need for literacy on the part of the audience, cinema arrived among a predominantly illiterate people. It opened up a new world of vicarious experience to large masses whose span of experience was severely limited by poverty
and restrictions on travel.
In a way that no other medium had done before, films began to influence public opinion on matters
relating to nationalism, social reforms and war. Regular commercial cinema shows began by 1900
in Madras, and soon permanent cinema houses came to be built. In 1912 the first Indian film,
“Raja Harishchandra,” was made in Bombay and in 1916 the first south Indian feature film,
“Keechakavatham” (The Destruction of Keechakan), was made in Madras. Both were based on
stories from well-known myths. The first studio in Madras, India Film Company, was established in