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Modern Theaters Ltd
Former type Limited
Fate Liquidated
Founded 1935
Founder(s) Tiruchengode Ramalingam Sundaram (or)
T.R. Sundaram
Defunct 1982
Headquarters Yercaud Road, Salem - 636 008, Tamil Nadu, India India
Area served Tamil Nadu
Andhra Pradesh
Key people T.R. Sundaram
Industry Motion pictures

Modern Theaters Ltd was a motion picture movie studio in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India, started by Thiruchengodu Ramalingam Sundaram (aka TRS) in 1935. The studio produced over more than 150 movies until 1982 in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Sinhalese and even English of which Tamil movies were the majority.



In the early 1930s, T.R. Sundaram entered the world of Tamil cinema as a partner of a Salem-based film company, Angel Films. He was involved in productions such as Draupadi Vastrapaharanam (1934), Dhruva (1935) and Nalla Thangal (1935). Then he decided to start his own company, Modern Theatres Limited. He realized that to make film making a business, it had to be organized and managed like a business enterprise. He also planned a schedule of producing films on a tight budget (two or three a year), so that the market and consumers were regularly and continually supplied with his products.

The maiden production of Modern Theatres, directed by T.R. Sundaram, was Sathi Ahalya, a mythological plot was released in 1937. Sundaram promoted Modern Theatres as a joint stock company and built a studio on a vast stretch of land on the outskirts of Salem town. The hundred odd films that came from his studio covered a wide spectrum of themes — mythology, comedy and original screenplays to adaptation of classic works of literature and murder mysteries. It is, however, the James Bond style of films starring Jaishankar that are almost synonymous with the banner.

Following the Hollywood studio system, TRS had on his rolls writers, technicians, actors and so on. He paid generously and promptly, a rarity in the film circle[1].

Notable Contributions

  • First Double role in Tamil Films introduced in Uthama Puthiran starring PU Chinnappa in the year 1940.
  • The first most expensive film to be produced was Manaonmani in 1942, starring PU Chinnappa and TR Rajakumari.
  • First Malayalam Film called Balan directed by Notani was produced in 1938[3]
  • First Malayalam Color film was Kandam Vecha Kottu in 1961[3]
  • First English film in Tamil Nadu: Modern Theatres teamed up with an American Film company to produce the first English movie in 1952- The Jungle
  • First film in which Manorama starred as an heroine is Konjum Kumari in 1963. This is the 97th film for T.R.Sundaram.
  • First film to have 3 separate stories within a movie was Chow Chow. The 3 stories are Kaligala Mainar, School Drama and Soorapuli.
  • When Zoom lens was not invented such an effect was pioneered in Ponmudi for which the French Government awarded the cameraman.
  • Has a unique record of having five former Chief Ministers of India in its payroll.
  • Frequently used foreigners like Ellis R. Dungan, Mani Lal Tandon, Bomman D. Irani to bring up the quality factor of his films.

See also


External links



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