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First Indian Films Shot In Color - Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Telugu & Kannada

Mayukh Bari15 January 2020 7:22PM IST
4 min read1281

The first full-length motion picture in India was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke. Phalke is seen as the pioneer of the Indian film industry and a scholar of India's languages and culture. Raja Harishchandra (1913), a silent film in Marathi is titled as the first film of India. It took another 18 years to welcome sound in Indian movies. Alam Ara (1931) was the first of its kind. The tagline of the movie said "All living. Breathing. 100 percent talking". The miracle was directed by Ardeshir Irani. Every film was sounding well since then. After another 6 years, India welcomes Cinecolor technology. CInecolor was developed around the 1930s but huge cost and sophistication of technology restricted its use for a couple of years. Ardeshir Irani bankrolled the project and under the direction of Moti B. Gidwani India got its first color film - 'Kisan Kanya'. Take a look at the first Indian color films from various film industries of India.

Kisan Kanya

Kisan Kanya (1937) was a Hindi Cinecolor feature film which was directed by Moti B. Gidwani and produced by Ardeshir Irani of Imperial Pictures. It is largely remembered by the Indian public on account of it being India's first indigenously made color film. Kisan Kanya was based on a novel by Saadat Hasan Manto and focussed on the plight of poor farmers. Padma Devi as Bansri, Zilloo as Ramdai, Ghulam Mahomed as Randheer, Nissar as Ramoo.

Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum

Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum (1956) was shot in Gevacolor and is notable for being the first Tamil and South Indian full-length color film. This film was directed and produced by T. R. Sundaram under his production banner Modern Theatres. The film features M. G. Ramachandran and Bhanumathi Ramakrishna in the lead roles, with K. Sarangkapani, P. S. Veerappa, K. A. Thangavelu, M. N. Rajam, Sushila, Vidhyavathi, and M. G. Chakrapani in supporting roles.

Kandam Becha Kottu

Kandam Becha Kottu (1961) was the first color film in Malayalam. The film was directed by T. R. Sundaram. This one is based on a popular novel, which was also staged as a play under the same title. The release was at that time the biggest box office success. Its dialogues were written by renowned writer K. T. Muhammed and it is based on the "Kozhikkodan slang" of Malayalam. The film received a certificate of merit at the National Film Awards. This film features Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair and Aranmula Ponnamma.


Kanchenjunga (1962) was the first Bengali film shot in full color. The film was directed by Satyajit Ray it was his first original screenplay. The film shows about 100 minutes (in real-time) in the life of a group of rich Bengalis on vacation. Unlike the usual Ray films, it has a fragmented narrative with no central characters. This movie has every element that characterizes it as a "hyperlink film", although the term only got prominence in the 21st century with movies like Syriana (2005) and Babel (2006). The film features Chhabi Biswas as Indranath Roy, Karuna Banerjee as Labanya, Anil Chatterjee as Anil, Pahari Sanyal as Jagadish and Alaknanda Roy as Monisha.

Lava Kusa

Lava Kusa (1963) was the Telugu cinema's first full-length color film. This film was directed by C. S. Rao and his father C. Pullaiah. The film's script was written by Samudrala Raghavacharya. The film was produced by Shankar Reddy under Lalita Sivajyothi films. The film features N. T. Rama Rao as Lord Rama, Anjali Devi as Goddess Sita, Chittor V. as Valmiki, Master Nagaraju as Lava and Master Subrahmanyam as Kusa.

Amarashilpi Jakanachari

Amarashilpi Jakanachari (1964) is the first Indian Kannada film fully shot in color. The film was directed and produced by B. S. Ranga under the banner Vikram Productions. The film score and soundtrack were composed by S. Rajeswara Rao. It stars Kalyan Kumar as the titular protagonist, in the eponymous role as Amarashilpi Jakanachari, a sculptor who lived in the 12th-century Hoysala Empire. It also features B. Saroja Devi, Udaykumar and V. Nagaiah in the lead roles.