The First Kannada Talkie: “Sathi Sulochana” (1934)

Keeping in line with our focus on the regional cinemas of Southern India, we at TCRC bring to you a piece published by The Hindu in 2004, where historian Randor Guy writes about the first ever Kannada talkie film, “Sathi Sulochana.” It was released in 1934 and featured Rattihalli Nagendra Rao and MV Subbiah, who were popular theatre artists at that time. The film was directed by Yaragudipati Varada Rao, who cast himself in  an important role in the movie. YV Rao was also the director of “Chintamani,” the record-breaking Tamil film that was released in 1937. YV Rao’s “Chintamani” was the first Tamil film to run continuously for a year and is said to have played an important role in catapulting actor-singer MK Thyagaraja Bhagavathar to stardom.

In his piece on Sathi Sulochana, Randor Guy offers some very interesting trivia about the production of the movie:

Sathi Sulochana” took two months to be completed. Shooting was done in natural sun light and by using man-made reflectors. Shooting with artificial lighting in that town was difficult. Mirrors were carried by camera-assistants on their shoulders to reflect sunlight onto the set to provide back-lighting and the men had to keep moving, shifting the mirrors to be in alignment with the moving sun! The sets had no ceiling and were covered by a white cloth.”

MV Subbiah Naidu in “Sathi Sulochana” (1934), the first Kannada talkie

We at TCRC are proud to feature such gems from our illustrious history of cinema. Please feel free to write to tcrcindia[at]gmail[dot]com with your feedback and suggestions.

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