AVM Studios – One Of The Oldest Surviving Studio In India

Movies are a part and parcel of Indian culture! Do you agree? Every year more than 1600 films are made across the country.  South Indian film industry has a major share in the 3 billion plus turnover of the Indian film industry – think Bahubali, Roja, Bombay, and Singam!

AVM studios – the origin

AVM studios was established in 1945 by AV Meiyappan Chettiar.  It is located in 25 acres land of the prime area in Vadapalani, Chennai.  It has to its credit producing more than 174 films in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Hindi and even Sinhalese languages.

Meiyappan Chettiar had an obsession with cinema.  He started off as a gramophone seller and then established a studio in a thatched house in Karikudi, his hometown.  After his 1947 Tamil movie Nam Iruvar became a hit, he went on to establish AVM Productions – first in Santhome, Chennai and then at the present location.  This famed studio is now in its late Seventies.

All-time hits of AVM studios

Here are some of the super hits from AVM

  • Tamil films – Sivaji –the Boss, Ayan,  Priyamaana Thozhi, Gemini, Server Sundaram, Miss Mary …
  • Telugu films – Leader(Telugu film), Gemini, Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata, Major Chandrakanth … and many more
  • Hindi – A minimum of 30 Hindi films have been produced in this studio. Some of the hit movies released from AVM studios are Hum Panchi Ek Dal Ke, ChoriChori (featuring Raj Kapoor and Nargis), Miss Mary, (featuring Meena Kumari), Bhai Bhai (featuring Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar) , Bhakti Mahima, Sapnay(featuring Kajol and Prabhu Deva) and the 95 crore budget Sivaji – the boss.

Talented and bankable actors who debuted from this oldest studio

  • The first film released with this banner was Vedhala Ulagam.  This studio was the first place where the very talented and highly successful Hindi actress Vyjayantimala learned the ropes of acting.  Her 1949 debut film, Vazhkai was declared a hit and was remade as Jeevitham in Telugu and Bahar in Hindi. The dancer-actress went on capture the Bollywood number one actress spot with movies like Devadas, Chandramukhi, Jewel Thief, Naya Daur, and Ganga Jamuna.
  • In 1952, the banner released a movie called Parasakthi with a newcomer called Sivaji Ganeshan.  The firm footing at AVM helped the newcomer to climb great cinematic heights receiving Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, NTR National award and also the highest award for the movie icons in India – the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, 1996.  Sivaji Ganeshan has also been decorated with the Chevalier, 1995 award by the French Government.
  • The very popular actor Kamal Hassan, who acted in films like Sadma, Saagar, Ek Tuje Ke Liye, Hey Ram, Vishwaroop and Chachi 420, was also discovered here at an unbelievably young age of 4 years.

Facilities available at AVM studios

There are many facilities in the studio for  Ad filmmaking, film distribution, film promotion, Documentaries, preview theatre, TV serial production.  The facilities and set up here include shooting floors, preview theatre, recording, dubbing facilities, production, and post-production.  Other facilities include:

Shooting equipment that can be hired

Audio equipment, video monitors, video recording camera, communication equipment, film recording camera,  lighting accessories, and filters, grip equipment

Other Services

  • Bungalow on hire, Government permissions, obtaining a visa for crew members and craft facility
  • Party wedding ground, set constructions, shooting location scouting.

Tourists who visit this place can have a look around the sets, sprawling gardens, props and statues that are housed here. Unfortunately, there are no guided tours.

One can also take this opportunity to visit the Kodambakkam area tour film studies where the world famous AR Rahman started his career, and where Rajanikanth movies like Enthiran (grossed $4 million in America)  Muthu, (dubbed into Japanese, earned $1.6 million in Japan alone) were made.

Featured Photo: AVM Studios, Chennai by Melanie-m under CC BY 2.0 


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