S.S. Vasan


Born: Thiruthuraipundi, Tamil Nadu, India


Subramaniam Srinivasan (4 January 1904 – 26 August 1969), popularly known by his screen name S. S. Vasan, was an Indian journalist, writer, advertiser, film producer, director and business tycoon. He is the founder of the Tamil-language magazine Ananda Vikatan and the film production company Gemini Studios, Gemini Film Laboratories and Gemini Picture Circuit. He was a member of parliament (Rajya Sabha) from 1964 and served his term till his death.Vasan was born in Thiruthuraipoondi in the then Tanjore district but was forced to migrate to Madras following the death of his father at an early age. Vasan discontinued his studies before graduation and set up a flourishing mail order and advertising business. In 1928, Vasan purchased a struggling Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan that was published by Pudhoor Vaidyanadhaiyar since February 1926 and has stopped publication in December 1927. Vasan bought the publication in January 1928 and relaunched it with the same name but in a different format from February 1928. Ananda Vikatan, subsequently, emerged as the leading Tamil magazine in the then Madras Presidency and continues to be the oldest and most respected Tamil magazine till this day.Vasan entered the Tamil film industry in 1936 when his novel Sathi Leelavathi was made into a film. In 1940, he purchased the Motion Picture Producers Combine, a film studio and renamed it Gemini Studios. Gemini Studios made a number of successful Tamil, Telugu and Hindi movies from 1940 to 1969, notable ones being Mangamma Sapatham, Aboorva Sagotharargal, Nandanaar, Bala Nagamma, Miss Malini, Chandralekha, Vanjikkottai Valiban, Nishaan, Mangala, Insaaniyat, Grahasti, Gharana, Zindagi, Vazhkai Padagu, Motor Sundaram Pillai, Olivilakku, Chakradhari, Aurat, Avvaiyar, Paigham and Irumbu Thirai. Vasan also directed some of his later movies, the first being Chandralekha, which is considered by critics and film historians to be a milestone in Indian cinema. Vasan died in Madras on 26 August 1969, at the age of 65.Vasan was an accomplished writer and translator and a hugely successful journalist. As a director, Vasan was known for his grandiose sets and innovative techniques that he introduced. Film historian Randor Guy hailed Vasan as the Cecil B. De Mille of India.He was the first film and media personality to be invited to be a member of parliament in Indias Rajya Sabha where he advocated the granting of industry status to the film trade (a battle still being fought). He was one of the founders of Film Federation India, Producers Guild of India and the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1969, the year of his death, by the government of India for his extraordinary contribution to Indian media. The Government of India and the Postal department released postage stamps bearing his likeness on 26 August 2004, the year of his centenary.

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