Celluloid (film)

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Celluloid film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKamal
Written byKamal
Based on
Produced by
  • Kamal
  • Ubaid
Edited byK. Rajagopal
Music byM. Jayachandran
Prime Time Cinema
Distributed byMurali Films
Release date
  • 15 February 2013 (2013-02-15)
Running time
129 minutes
Budget₹ 3.5 Crore
Box office16.57 crore (US$2.2 million)[1]

Celluloid is a 2013 Indian Malayalam-language biographical film co-produced, written and directed by Kamal, starring Prithviraj, Sreenivasan, Mamta Mohandas and Chandni in the lead roles. The film is a biopic based on the life story of J.C. Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema,[2] the making of his film Vigathakumaran and the story of Vigathakumaran's heroine P. K. Rosie. The film is particularly based on Life of J. C. Daniel, a biography of J. C. Daniel written by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan. Filming started in November 2012. The film's online posters was done by a 16-year-old boy Aswin which was viral in social medias. and it was released on February 2013. The film opened with positive reviews and received seven Kerala State Film Awards including for Best Film and Best Actor (Prithviraj).[3] The movie received many awards and much appreciation with the support of All Lights Film Services (ALFS),[4] a leading film festival consultancy. The film was a hit at the box office.


Celluloid tells the tale of J. C. Daniel and his love for cinema. He goes to great lengths to get the equipment required to make a movie, writing numerous letters, visiting places and meeting Dadasaheb Phalke, the man who brought cinema to India. Getting a female artiste to act in his movie was a tough task. It is decided that Rosamma, rechristened later as P K Rosy, will essay the lead role in J. C. Daniel's revolutionary 'motion picture' venture, Vigathakumaran, the story of which J. C. Daniel himself conceived. He sells everything to make his dream a reality, further borrowing money to meet the expenses. When finally Vigathakumaran is screened at Capitol Theatre, a 'cinemapura', the upper caste members of the audience creates a ruckus over a lower-caste girl acting as a Nair lady. Rosie, hunted by the Madambis leaves town never to be seen again. Years later, the shrivelled, impoverished Daniel, with only his wife Janet by his side, is leading a life far removed from what he had envisaged. Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan's interest in Daniel's life, his efforts to give him his due and the flashbacks to the incidents in Daniel's life after Vigathakumaran form the rest of the movie.



Prithviraj was selected to play the lead role in this film.[5] It was then reported that Samvrutha Sunil will be playing the role of Janet, the wife of J.C. Daniel, which was supposed to be her last film before her marriage. But later Mamta Mohandas replaced her.[6] Chandni, a singer who shot to fame through the reality show Josco Indian Voice, was selected to play the role of P. K. Rosie, Malayalam cinema's first heroine. The character of Dada Phalke was given to actor Nandu Madhav who had done the same role for the 2009 Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory (which itself dealt with the struggles in making the first Indian feature film Raja Harishchandra by Dada Phalke)[7] Sreenivasan enacts the role of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan who worked and lobbied tirelessly to give Daniel his due in Kerala.[8] The online posters for the film were done by a sixteen-year-old boy Aswin Ks which was selected for promotion and wiki updates.'Celluloid' is the first film to have the youngest publicity designer.

The film was shot at Thiruvananthapuram and Mysore. The film was dubbed to Tamil as J. C. Daniel and released in August 2013.


M. Jayachandran's soundtrack has been well appreciated by the critics and audiences alike.[9] "Enundodee", a song which is a throwback to the yesteryears, rendered by Sithara became a hit on TV and internet.[10] The song "Katte Katte" sung by Vaikom Vijayalakshmi and G. Sreeram has also been termed a hit.[11] Engandiyoor Chandrasekharan and Rafeeq Ahammed penned lyrics for the songs.

Track list
1."Enundodi"Engandiyoor ChandrasekharanSithara4:00
2."Katte Katte"Rafeeq AhammedG. Sreeram, Vaikom Vijayalakshmi4:00

Festival screenings

The film was an official selection for the following film festivals:

  • Indian Film Festival Japan – International Competition section.
  • Indian Film Festival of Houston – International Competition section.
  • Bollywood Film Festival Norway – International Competition section.
  • ImagineIndia International Film Festival Madrid
  • New Generation Film Festival
  • Pune International Film Festival India
  • Jaipur International Film Festival India
  • International Sport Film Festival Italy
  • Queens World Film Festival, USA
  • ReelWorld Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
  • International Film Festival for Comedy Romance and Musical Film Festival, Indonesia 2013
  • 6th Nashik International Film Festival 2014
  • Columbia George International Film Festival, USA 2014


The film has received the following accolades:

International Film Awards

  • International Film Festival for Comedy Romance and Musical Film Festival, Indonesia – Award of Excellence

National Film Awards

Kerala State Film Awards

Critical reception

Aswin Kumar of The Times of India gave 3.5 stars out of 5 and said "Celluloid, a moving tribute to Malayalam cinema from director Kamal is touching, poetic and immensely powerful. On a sprawling canvas, Kamal diligently recreates an age and fills it with characters who go on to become iconic figures in the history of Malayalam cinema. Prithviraj can hold this role close to his heart, so can Mamta. The dialect of Prithviraj may seem a bit jarring at times. But he masks it with an over-powering rendition of a character that transforms from youth to an ageing, frail, defeated soul."[12]

Paresh C Palicha of Rediff.com said "In Celluloid Kamal shows what 'passion for cinema' really meant before it became a stylish thing to say. Prithviraj is good and consistent as Daniel. Chandni gives a lifelike performance as Rosy with stars in her eyes."[13]


The film allegedly contains derogatory remarks on renowned writer and civil servant Malayatoor Ramakrishnan and former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran which sparked off a controversy in Kerala. Karunakaran is not openly mentioned but Malayattoor is being portrayed as a casteist who never wanted a Nadar to be given the title as the father of Malayalam cinema. This was followed by a controversial interview by Kamal in which he stated that Karunakaran and Malayatoor Ramakrishnan had roles in denying justice to J. C. Daniel by not recognising him as the father of Malayalam cinema. Kamal had pointed out in the interview that actor Siddique's character in the film essayed Malayatoor Ramakrishnan and he deliberately avoided mentioning the names of Karunakaran and Malayatoor to avoid controversies.[14]

The row over the film continued to be in the headlines for over a week with various writers, politicians and cultural icons commenting on the issue. "My father was the one who did all he could for the benefit of Malayalam movies, and even thought of a film studio in the state capital and instituting pensions for the film fraternity. A thousand Kamals cannot tarnish his image", K. Muraleedharan, Karunakaran's son, said on the portrayal of his father as a villain. But he after seeing the movie told that there was nothing about Karunakaran in the film and this ended the controversy.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Malayalam Films of 2013
  2. ^ "Kamal with a 'Celluloid'". IndiaGlitz. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Seven awards for 'Celluloid'". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. ^ "'Go Global' with All Lights Film Services". indiantelevision.org.in. 18 December 2013.
  5. ^ "I am working on a landmark film: Prithviraj". The Times of India. 13 September 2012. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Mamta to replace Samvrutha for 'Celluloid'". IndiaGlitz. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Chandni makes Celluloid debut". Deccan Chronicle. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  8. ^ Nagarajan, Saraswathy (11 October 2012). "Flashback in tinsel town". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  9. ^ "The music by M Jayachandran is another gift for this film". Indian Express.
  10. ^ "Singing a different Tune". Deccan Chronicle.
  11. ^ "Music Review: Celluloid (Malayalam)".
  12. ^ "Celluloid - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  13. ^ "Review: Celluloid is compelling".
  14. ^ "Barbs in ‘Celluloid’ lead to bloodletting"
  15. ^ "Row over Kerala award-winning film ‘Celluloid’"

External links

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