It was a period of drama when cinema was introduced to Tamils. Starting from there cinema had been in the veins of Tamil population. Movies were enjoyed to the core. Actors were celebrated more than their life. Movie theaters started consuming drama theaters which literally was the beginning of drama theater’s end.
Pudukkottai — a small town in Tamilnadu — was one of the princely states during the period British ruled India. The king of Pudukkottai enjoyed privileges for being loyal to the British. It was then in the 1935, Pudukkottai had its first movie theater. It was named Vest Talkies and owned by strong business man Chidambaram Chettiar who hailed from Rayavaram of Pudukkottai district. Vest talkies had seen many number of silver jubilees in the period it was active.
Cinema is a serious business. A storm hit Tamil cinema in 1990s. Movies were not doing good at box office. This resulted in affecting the theater business. Owners were not ready continue the business which was giving loss to them. Vest Talkies which remained the one of the identities of Pudukkottai was forced to close in the year 1998 due to the loss it did to the owners. People crossing the streets of theater would never miss the abandoned building which once was symbol of Pudukkottai’s pride.
Tamil cinema revived again doing good in box office in 2000s and theater business started flourishing on in the digital world. Movie making was much more easier in digital world. Marketing and promotion had become important in the business. After the emergence of social media, discussing about movies has become common among the people using social media. People started to give their view on movies before anyone seeking attention.
The owners of Vest talkies planned to resurrect the theater finding the situation for business is cool. A mall was constructed with theater and completed in 2015. Though it was not the same building that was before 17 years -the one which stood there for 60+ years — the name “Vest” rings bell among the locals.
Trivia — Popular super stars of Tamil cinema P.U.Chinnapa and Gemini Ganesan are from Pudukkottai