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Biography – Shri SS Vasan

Subramaniam Srinivasan (10 March 1903 (official) – 26 August 1969), popularly known by his screen name S. S. Vasan, was an Indian journalist, writer, advertiser, film producer, director and business tycoon. He is the founder of the Tamil-language magazine Ananda Vikatan and the film production company Gemini Studios Gemini Film Laboratories and Gemini Picture Circuit.

Vasan entered the Tamil film industry in 1936 when his novel Sathi Leelavathi was made into a film. In 1940, he purchased the Motion Picture Producers Combine, a film studio and renamed it Gemini Studios. Gemini Studios made a number of successful Tamil and Hindi movies from 1940 to 1969, notable ones being Mangamma Sapatham, Miss Malini ,Chandralekha ,Vanjikkottai Valiban and Irumbu Thirai.Vasan also directed some of his later movies, the first being Chandralekha, which is considered by critics and film historians to be a milestone in Indian cinema. Vasan died in Madras on 26 August 1969, at the age of 65.

Vasan was an accomplished writer and translator and a hugely successful journalist. As a director, Vasan was known for his grandiose sets and innovative techniques that he introduced. Film historian Randor Guy hailed Vasan as the “Cecil B. De Mille of India”.

He was the first film and media personality to be invited to be a Member of Parliament in India’s Rajya Sabha where he advocated the granting of industry status to the film trade (a battle still being fought). He was one of the founders of Film Federation India, Producer’s Guild of India and the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded the Padma Bushan in 1969, the year of his death, by the government of India for his extraordinary contribution to Indian media. The Government of India and the Postal department released postage stamps bearing his likeness on 26 August 2004, the year of his centenary.