Kalidas otherwise called Kalidasa, was a 1931 Indian Mythological film, known for being the first sound film made in Tamil, and in South India.
It was produced by Ardeshir Irani, a successful entrepreneur during British India who is well known for making the first sound movie of Bollywood named Alam Ara and Kalidas was directed by H. M. Reddy who also worked in Alam Ara with Ardeshir Irani. The film was focused around the life of the fourth-century Sanskrit artist Kālidāsa.
Because of few dialogues in the movie were narrated in Telugu and Hindi, some film pundits and researchers see it as India’s first multilingual film. It was even promoted in the Tamil daily paper Swadesamitran as the “First Tamil-Telugu Talking Picture“.
None the less, to put in light of the fact that every word of its fifty melodies was in Tamil, the film history specialist S. Theodore Baskaran thinks of it as predominantly a Tamil film.
Despite the film’s not-so-fanciful subject, it offered devoted melodies. The film was shot in Bombay (now Mumbai) on the sets of India’s first sound film Alam Ara (1931) and was finished in eight days.
The movie had P. G. Venkatesan as the eponymous character and T. P. Rajalakshmi as the female lead, with L. V. Prasad, Thevaram Rajambal, T. Susheela Devi, J. Sushila and M. S. Santhanalakshmi in supporting.
The sound recording was done using the vitaphone process by German technicians using German equipment. Songs had compositions of Saint Thyagaraja, an icon of Carnatic classical music.
In the midst of much buildup, Kalidas released on Diwali, 31 October 1931—the only Tamil film—that year. It got recognition, with Rajalakshmi’s singing being commended.
The film likewise turned into a business achievement, accumulating INR 75000 (Us$1,200) against a funding of INR 8000 (Us$130). The accomplishment of Kalidas produced various different movies focused around the character in different dialects.
Notwithstanding being discriminatingly acclaimed and economically effective, Kalidas turned into a trendsetter for sound movies in South Indian films. It was adopted by in Kannada by K. R. Seetharam Shastry as Mahakavi Kalidas (1955), which was likewise well acknowledged and economically fruitful. Other Kālidāsa-themed movies incorporate the Kannada film Kaviratna Kalidasa (1983), the Tamil film Mahakavi Kalidas (1966), the Telugu film Mahakavi Kalidasu (1960) and the Hindi film Kavi Kalidas (1959).