First Kannada talkie – Sathi Sulochana turns 85

First Kannada talkie – Sathi Sulochana turns 85

First Kannada talkie movie Sathi Sulochana turns 85 tomorrow (3rd March).  Sati Sulochana was released at Kalasipalyam Paramount Cinema (Daddanna Hall) on March 4th 1934.  Sadly archivists have not been able to find a copy or a print of this historical movie.

The duration of the movie is 173 minutes and had 30 songs.  People came to Bengaluru in bullet carts carrying food and water to watch this movie from nearby towns and villages.

Sati Sulochana – First Kannada talkie :

Sati Sulochana is an 1934 Kannada film directed by Y.V.Rao. The film was released on 3 March 1934 and is the first talkie film in Kannada language.  It is also the first film to be screened in the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom.

Background of the first Kannada talkie :

The producer of the film was a Marwari businessman from Bengaluru (a native of Ahore, Jalore District  of Rajasthan) named Shah Chamanlal Doongaji.

He started a film production company in Bengaluru  called South India Movietone in 1932. The first Kannada talkie was made at a cost of Rs.40,000.

He decided to make a mythological movie called Sati Sulochana involving characters from the Ramayana like Ravana, Indrajit (Ravana’s son), Ravana’s wife Mandodari and Indrajit’s wife Sulochana.

Cast of the first Kannada talkie movie :

He engaged Yaragudipati Varada Rao to direct the film as well as play a character, that of Lakshman. Bellave Narahari Shastri wrote the screenplay, dialogues and lyrics.

Nagendra Rao, who had previous exposure to films, was selected to play the role of Ravana and was given an additional role of production management. 

M. V. Subbaiah Naidu was selected to play the lead role of  Indrajit and two ladies; Lakshmi Bai and Thripuramaba were selected to play the roles of Mandodari and Sulochana respectively.

Kannada talkie movie Production :

The shooting of the film was at chatrapathi Studio in Kolhapur.  The shooting started in December 1933 and took 2 months to complete.  The entire kannada talkie movie was done in natural sunlight and by man-made reflectors.

 Being the first Kannada talkie film, it ran house-full at Bangalore for six weeks.  A review of the fir Kannada talkie movie appeared in Vishwa Karnataka, a popular Kannada newspaper of the time.

Conclusion :

When one looks back it seems a long way.  Since Sati Sulochana the first Kannada talkie movie, Sandanwood have come a long way.  Now about 200 films are produced in Kannada every year. 

The Kannada film industry owes much to the first Kannada Talkie Movie Sati Sulochana which has opened the way for kannada movies.

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