indian cinema heritage foundation

T R Sundaram

  • Primary Cinema: Tamil

T R Sundaram (TRS), popularly called  “Mudhalali” in the film trade, was the  founder of Modern Theatres Studio at  Salem. He began film production in 1933  by joining hands with Angel Films, Salem.  At that time, they had to travel to Calcutta  to make films. This bothered TRS and  he decided to set up a studio at Salem itself. In 1936, he  then set up the first fully integrated studio offering all the  services needed to make a film, and through that studio,  he started his film production. He approached film making  with a professional attitude, importing foreign technicians  for his debut film Sadhi Agalya in 1937. TRS produced the  first Malayalam sound film Balan (1938) and became a part  of the history of that language. He also produced the first  colour films in Tamil (Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum with  MGR) and in Malayalam (Kandam Bacha Coat).  In his career spanning 30 years, he produced and directed  56 films and produced another 42 films with directors 

like Ellis Dungan, C.V. Raman and T.R. Raghunath. Modern Theatres produced 98 films during his lifetime. In his  memory, the South Indian Chamber’s Complex is called  ‘Sundaram Avenue’.

The select filmography of TRS as a  director is Burma Rani (1944), Ayiram Thalaivangia Apoorva  Cinthamani (1947), Mayavathi (1949), Mandhiri Kumari  with Ellis Duncan, (1950), Thigamba Samiyar (1950) and  Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum (1955).