When AVM and Vahini studios acquired land in Kodambakkam, it gave other companies a cue and they too soon set up shop there. This transformed Kodambakkam into the film hub of the south.
The studios actively shot and produced Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Sinhala and Oriya films.
Historian Randor Guy says after the war, there was a power surplus and the power utility found it wise to invite companies to buy land there.
Mohan Raman said, “Vahini studio was to shoot scenes featuring police stations, courts and hospitals as production executives found it difficult to secure permission to shoot in live locations. The studio had a huge house with two long staircases.”
Vasu studio had a lot of open space and the Brihadeeswarar temple of Thanjavur was made with plaster of Paris by Vasu Menon, the studio’s owner, for the movie Raja Raja Chozhan. The buses passing through Arcot Road used to slow down to let people pray, he said.
The Golden studio, which was previously called Neptune studio and Rohini studio, stood on a beautiful plot. Its owner, HM reddy, grew paddy in nine acres on the studio campus. In an interview in the 1950s, he said, “I grow all that because I don’t depend on this industry.”
The Arunachalam studio has 20 different kinds of huts that were mostly used to shoot outdoor village scenes. The studio also had a huge temple tank and that too was a sought after place.
Some studios vanished in due course. Like the Ponnaluri brothers, right next to the AVM Studios. The owners were two siblings from Kerala and they did a few movies. For some reason, the studio collapsed. Star Combines, owned by AM Ramaiyah, was one of the first studios to function from Kodambakkam. It was functional for at least five to six years before Vahini and AVM studios came about,” said Mohan Raman.