AVM Studios in Vadalapani, Chennai, was founded by A.V. Meiyappan. It became one of the many film studios in the neighbourhood called Kodambakkam.
Meiyappan hailed from Karaikuddi, and ran a store called A. V. & Sons that distributed gramophone records for HMV and Columbia in the late 1920s. In the 1930s, he set up Saraswathi Sound Productions and Saraswathi Talkie Producing Company, before establishing AVM Studious.
In its years of glory, from the 1950s to 1970s, AVM was at the centre of Kollywood, the Tamil film industry. Over time, it has witnessed rapid shifts in the celluloid industry brought about by changes in film technology and audience’s taste, linguistic divide of Madras State, boom in real estate, and the coming of television and radio.
This module, while focusing on AVM Studios, chronicles the rise and fall of the studio system in Chennai. It looks at the shifts in skillsets, professions, and repurposing of studio floors and production houses. Through conversations and interviews with people in the industry who have lived through the changes, this module tries to put together a history of film projection and distribution, which includes erstwhile machineries like Mitchell cameras, Moviola and Steenbeck editing machines, projectors, microphones and other sound-recording machines.