The Tamil movie industry (also referred to as the Chennai movie industry and Kollywood) is currently the second largest film producer in India after Bollywood, distributing films worldwide throughout Asia from India and Sri Lanka to Mayasia and South Korea, as well as in the United States, Canada and western Europe.
Based in the Chennai (formerly known as Madras) district Of Tamil Nadu in southern India (where there are approximately 1800 movie theatres alone), the industry began making silent movies as far back as 1916 with a film entitled “Keechaka Vaadham” (The Destruction of Keechaka) before swtiching over to talkies in the early 1930’s with the movie “Kalidas.” However, its first true commercial success did not come until 1948, when the landmark movie “Chandralekha” was released to the public. This was also the most expensive Tamil film ever produced at a cost of $800,000.
Since the beginning, the Tamil movie industry has had strong ties to politics, basing many of its original characters and movie themes on the traditional folk ballads of Tamil Nadu. In addition, many of the area’s political leaders got their start there, including J. Jayalalthaa, a current opposition leader who was a Tamil actress, as well as the current chief Minister M Karunanidhi who began his career as a director and script writer.
Today, some of the rising Tamil actresses include Aishwarya Rai, Bhuvaneshwari, Nayanthara and Anuska, all hoping for the success enjoyed by Simran. Simran a leading lady during late 1990’s and early 2000, also did a lot of modeling for companies such as PepsiCo., Ford Motors, Colgate Palmolive, Loreal, Subway and Chandana Brothers before building her own financial empire that currently includes real estate, restaurants and 10% percent of MGM Studios. She also plans to open her own movie production company later this year.