Intro 7:20 PM

The Tamil Film Industry is home to Tamil-language cinema based in India and is sometimes referred to as Kollywood (Tamil : கோலிவுட் kōlivūṭ). The name, Kollywood, has derived from Kodambakkam, the area in Chennai (formerly Madras), where Kollywood films are largely produced. Tamil language movies are also filmed in Sri Lanka.

Silent movies were produced in Kollywood since 1916 and the era of talkies dawned in 1931. By the end of the 1930s, the industry was booming to the extent that the State of Madras legislature passed the pioneering Entertainment Tax Act 1939 with little opposition.

Tamil films have one of the widest overseas distribution along with Telugu and Hindi films. They have enjoyed consistent popularity among Tamil speakers in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. Tamil films have recently become popular in Japan (Rajinikanth's Muthu, for example, screened for a record period), South Africa, Canada, and the UK. Many movies such as Chandramukhi and Anniyan were also simultaneously released in the USA. Sivaji: The Boss, which had released recently has also been touted as a record-breaking film for its high-budget, large opening, and reception worldwide. It also cracked into the UK's Top 10 weekend box opening movies becoming the first ever Indian movie to do so. It is also the most expensive Indian movie produced so far, largely due to the 25 Crore salary paid to Rajnikanth.

Tamil films enjoy significant patronage in the neighbouring southern States like Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh too. In Kerala and Karnataka the films are directly released in Tamil but in Andhra Pradesh they are generally dubbed into Telugu. There is a fair amount of dispersion amongst the Indian film industries. Many successful Tamil films have been remade by the Hindi and Telugu film industries. Kollywood has also remade a fair number of Hindi-, Telugu-, Malayalam-, and other-language films. It is estimated by the Manorama Yearbook 2000 (a popular almanac) that over 5,000 Tamil films were produced in the 20th century. For a complete list of Tamil films, see the List of Tamil-Language Films. Tamil films have also been dubbed into other languages, thus reaching a much wider audience. Examples of those dubbed into Hindi include such hits as Minsaara Kanavu, Roja and Bombay. Anniyan, a recent Tamil film became the first Indian film to be dubbed into French. See popular Tamil films.

There has been a growing presence of English in dialogue and songs as well. It is not uncommon to see movies that feature dialogue studded with English words and phrases, or even whole sentences. Some movies are also simultaneously made in two or three languages (either using subtitles or several soundtracks). Quite often, Tamil movies feature Chennai Tamil, a colloquial version of Tamil spoken in Madras' i.e 'Chennai.