Cinema

Gemini Studios - Once A Giant!

Whenever I travel around the so-called Anna Flyover at the entry point of Mount Road (Anna Salai) I cannot but recall those two bugle-blowing tiny boys at the top of the corner building once with a huge compound wall. It was the entrance of the famous Gemini Studios from the day I was a schoolboy. 

It was even known as Gemini Bridge for a long and later the name was changed from Gemini Bridge to Anna Flyover and Mount Road to Anna Salai. (The reasons are obvious; I need not have to explain)

Gemini Studios and SS Vasan, the founder, a humble young man who came from down South Trichy invested his fortune to start two ventures: the Gemini Studios, a production house, and a Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan.

Gemini Studio's story is legendary. Turned into a production house in the year 1941, it was operative till 1975 producing movies mainly in Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu. Many are remakes of one language from another after its success.

The movies were undoubtedly novel. Path breaking with grandeur and exclusive in certain aspects. They were historical, mythological, family-centric, and social. Of the 30 movies Gemini Studios turned out in the period of three decades, some are blockbusters and memorable.

I just list some of them and I cannot claim that I have seen them all. They are ‘Madanakamarajan’ (1941), ‘Nandanar’, ‘Magamma Sabhatham’, ‘Chandralekha’ (1948) a big blockbuster with its famous Drum Dance, Apoorva Sahodarargal (1949), ‘Avvayar’ (1953) again a grand success, ‘Vanjikottai Valiban’ (1958) still known for the challenging dance sequence between Vyjayanthimala and Padmini, ‘Irumbu Thirai’ (1959), ‘Vazhkai Padagu’ ( 1965), ‘Motor Sundaram Pillai (1966) for its subdued family drama and heavy star cast, ‘Oli Vilakku’ (1968) a super duper success with MGR and Jayalalithaa. The swan song was ‘Ellorum Nallavare” (1975) a forgettable closing film from the studios. 

All films have some specialty because of the actors too; MM Dandapani Desikar in ‘Nandanar’, Vasundhara Devi and Ranjan in ‘Mangamma Sabatham’, KB Sundarambal in as ‘Avvayar’, TR Rajakumari as ‘Chandralekha’, Gemini Ganesan and Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini, Vyjayanthimala and Saroja Devi in titular roles in Gemini productions are still memorable. 

The songs in most of the movies are melodious and memorable too. 

Today, it is sad that such a historic production house and its name have been completely wiped out for reasons known. One could find several multistoried buildings inside that huge campus. 

Sad! Nevertheless, old-timers like me will remember SS Vasan, ‘Gemini Studios’, and their historical contributions to Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu cinema. 

23-Mar-2024

More by :  G Swaminathan

Top | Cinema

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