Asking someone to mention the names of the two huge film production houses in Tamil Nadu, is like asking kids, who the super star is.The instant answer will be that they are the oldest Gemini and A.V.M.studios in Chennai. These two giant film makers of excellent quality and entertainment value, are the watch words of Tamil Cinema. During difficult days of lack of technical input and paucity of resources, they stood firmly to the ground realities of film making and passionately dedicated themselves, to do the unusual,the exemplary and the astounding things in Tamil Cinema.It is their profound involvement with heart and soul in the creative process of making films of high standard, that kept their growth and popularity intact, even during tougher days.
My memories of the Gemini Pictures are tied up to the 1948 grand show of 'Chandralekha' the visual extravaganza released even before I was born.I think I watched it only a dozen years after its release in my pet touring talkies.This movie was my childhood treat to be treasured for ever,like the other brilliant Gemini Pictures' release 'Vanjikkottai Valiban' .Both these extraordinary creations would show everybody,what the human body and mind are capable of and what, the might of collective endeavour could lead to.These movies would have taken longer time and higher investment,causing various obstacles in film making.But people who took the risk passionately,with sheer faith in the outcome of their pet projects,were greatly rewarded in terms of audience reception and returns of investment.The Gemini Studios continued its royal journey of making high quality family entertainers and films of social values like 'Vazhkaipadagu'Motor Sundaram Pillai, 'Irumbuthirai' 'Vilaiyattupillai' and Olivilakku'.
Gemini's 'Avvaiyar', starring K.B.Sundrambal was a bold and successful attempt on the saint-poet Avvaiyar of the Sangam period. 'Aboorva Sagodharargal' the other great movie of Gemini Pictures was a catchy show of sibling rivalry between a pair of twins, wonderfully played by the much talented M.K.Radha,in dual roles. MGR's 'Neerum Neruppum'was a remake of this movie, by another film unit and this was said to be just half the mark of its original version.The recent releases from Gemini Pictures were, Kamal's 'Vasool Raja MBBS' directed by Charan and 'Kutty' starring Danush.
The focus of the other, still active Movie Makers, is always on family dramas and the problems and predicament of human life in general.Unlike Gemini Studios,the AVM banner is a busier production company, releasing more movies, but still making them all economically viable and worth watching.Tamil audience would proudly preserve in their memory immortal movies like Dheivapiravi Thilakam, Paava Mannippu,Paarthaal Pasitheerum,Uyarndha Manidhan, Kalathur Kannamma, Ramu, Anbe Vaa,Naanum Oru Penn,Adhe Kangal,Kuzhandhaiyum Dheivamum, ServerSundaram, Major Chandrakanth, Nallavanukku Nallavan, Sakalakalaa Vallaban, Pudhumai Penn,Perazhagan and Sivaji. All these were notable blockbusters and there are many other hits and moderate shows. of AVM pictures.The success formula of AVM film makers consists of meticulous planning,targeted investment,strong story base and clear choice of the entire film making unit.
There was a mood of certainty among the film viewers, that the three- lettered film making company, was the symbol of victory and they went to the theatres with the simple faith that there would be a lot to enjoy and recollect in an AVM movie.It is a clear fact that their expectations never went wrong and whenever they left the theatres, after watching an AVM film, they had a lot to remember and store in their memory.This trustworthy link between the AVM makers and the audience,continues even today.
If Gemini Studios can take pride in making R.Ganesh into Gemini Ganesan,the AVM banner can celebrate its proud position for introducing two of the world's classic actors like Sivaji Ganesan in 'Parashakthi' and Kamalahasan in 'Kalathur Kannamma' the latter, as a child artist. Interestingly, the AVM Studios made the film 'Sivaji the Boss', as if to pay a kind of tribute to that legendary hero. Here, it should be added that the AVM studios produced another movie, with the title 'Gemini', may be, to glorify the victory march of the other great movie makers.
While MGR did one movie each with AVM [ 'Anbe Vaa',] and Gemini Pictures,[Oli Vilakku} Sivaji Ganesan has acted in about five films with AVM and three with Gemini Pictures. Gemini Ganesan was signed for movies like 'Kalathur Kannamma'Ramu' and 'Paarthhal Pasitheerum' For Gemini Pictures, whose prefix has adorned the name R.Ganesh as Gemini Ganesan,this soft romantic hero,has performed a solid hero role in Vanjikkottai Vaaliban,a film of epic status.' besides his first film Avvaiyar produced by this mammoth production house.The A.V.M's continued successive favourites have been, kamalahasan and Rajinikanth.Of the two,Rajinikanth has joined the AVM banner for nearly one sixth of its Tamil movies released so far, The greatness of A.V.M Pictures and Gemini Pictures is that, all their movies are wonderful family entertainers with decent story line, avoiding any negative thrust in theme and characterization. They always ensure that the audience leave the theatres, with the utmost satisfaction of their time and money well spent. The other known fact is, some of the Gemini and AVM movies, have drawn repeated audience to the theatres, to see the same movie because of their unique entertainment value .
The best way to recognize and appreciate the film making spirit and conviction of these two mega production houses, is to salute them both with a hearty sense of compliment and gratitude.