Cinematographer in Chennai recalls his 1st Independence day

Chennai: There are many stories of the freedom movement. But here is an interesting one of the first Independence Day celebration in Gemini Studio on Mount Road in the city.

A resident of Panneerselvam Salai, K K Nagar, N Krishnaswamy (94), veteran film producer, director, exhibitor and cameraman, recalls 15 August 1947 and the midnight celebrations.

“After my BA Hons in Annamalai University, I was the first batch to pass out of the Film Institute of Film Technology then in Parry’s Corner as cinematographer,” he says.

“I joined Gemini Studios on 11 August 1947 as cameraman on a monthly salary basis which prevailed in those days. I was thrilled with my new job and my joy doubled as in four days from then was the first Independence Day,” says the film producer.

The day 14 August was born with a bustle in the studio as that day was to be celebrated with grandeur in the studio campus.

The first Independence Day celebration was held in the vast sprawling quadrangle inside the Gemini Studios. This was the quadrangle used later for the popular drum dance sequence in the film ‘Chandralekha’,”Krishnaswamy says.

The Independence Day celebration started at 6 pm on 14 August with 600 and more participants, mostly the staff of the Gemini Studios.

Many spoke at the event, including popular writer Kothamangalam Subbu, artiste T K Shanmugam, and director S D Sundaram, the cinematographer recalls.

“Gemini Studios proprietor S S Vasan hosted a grand feast for all participants followed by an emotional speech by Kalki Krishnamoorthy about Dheerar Satyamurthy and his sacrifices which brought tears to our eyes. The grand event concluded after the hoisting of our national flag at zero hours of 15 August,” says the nonagenarian.

He further says that there was no technology for live relay in radio in those days.

“We at Gemini Studios could only imagine the Independence Day flag hoisting at the same zero hours of 15 August in New Delhi. We only came to know later about the grand speech of Pandit Nehruji. In spite of the non-availabilty of live radio relay, we could easily imagine the spirit of New Delhi and were enlivened by it in Gemini Studios on 15 August. Who can ever forget that day,” he says. Krishnaswamy can be reached at 2366 1309/2959.