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70mm Film in India

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: K. Ramachandra Babu, ISC, India Date: 29.08.2008
"Padayottam" 70mm frame, supplied by K. Ramachandra Babu

11-06-1997, Thiruvananthapuram

Dear Mr. Thomas Hauerslev,

As requested by you herewith I am sending the details regarding the 70mm films produced in India. All films were originally photographed in the CinemaScope format and 70mm blow-up prints with Six-track magnetic stereo sound were made for theatrical release. The list might not be complete as I could gather only so much details and even that took me such a long time!

I am enclosing a film clipping from "Padayottam" photographed by me. Also there is a song book of "Padayottam" in Malayalam Language which was meant to educate the audience about the various formats and how six track stereo sound is reproduced in the theatre. You will find also some information about the attempt to manufacture a 65mm Camera for the first time in our country.

I hope the information provided will be of use to you and please do not hesitate to contact us for any thing you need.

With Warm regards
Sincerely yours

K. Ramachandra Babu, ISC
More in 70mm reading:

70mm Filming in India

Somaflex-65-70MM, India's First 65mm Camera

What the archive kept - The Safire Theatre, India

Internet link:




Indian Society of Cinematographers
"Nirmal Sadan"
T .C. 31/916
Thiruvananthapuram - 695 024



2008 update

Dear Thomas Hauerslev,

Thanks for remembering me and mailing me and also for putting my 70mm frames and song book in your website. Unfortunately no more 70mm productions are being made in Indian film productions. There are no 65mm cameras in India as well. Though many theatres are equipped with 70mm projectors, they have to depend upon Hollywood productions for screening in the bigger format and as such, these films are rare. So 70mm screenings are NIL in the present day situation and even if you want to project one, you will find it very difficult as in many of them the sound systems will not be functioning well because of poor maintenance. Many of the bigger theatres are making way for smaller compact multiplexes and shopping malls. I congratulate you for keeping alive the past glory of the 70mm widescreen format during these days of digital imaging.

With Warm Regards
Sincerely yours
K. Ramachandra Babu, ISC

2014 update, 25.12.2013

Dear Thomas,

Thanks for your Well Wishes. I too Wish you A Merry X Mas and a Very Happy 2014.

Coming to 70mm Films in India, certain things needs to be corrected regarding the First 70 mm Film of India which is "Around the world" (Hindi-Urdu) 1967 and not "Sholay" as I have mentioned earlier. You can see it in the credit titles of the film, a screen grab which is attached with this mail. I do hope this information will be useful to you for updating your site.

With Warm Regards
Sincerely yours
K. Ramachandra Babu, ISC

Song Book of "Padayottam" (click each image to see enlargement)


Indian 70mm Titles

"Around the world" (Hindi-Urdu) 1967

(Language Hindi)
Director Ramesh Sippy
Director of Photography Dwaraka Diwecha
Cast Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Amjad Khan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri

"Padayottam" logo with 70mm logo - can you spot it?

(Language Malayalam)
Produced by Navodaya
Director Jijo
Director of Photography K. Ramachandra Babu
Music Guna Singh
Art Director K. Sheker
Editor Sekar
Laboratory Pradad Film Laboratories
Cast Prern Nazir, Madhu, Mammotty, Mohan Lal, Shankar, Govindan Kutty, Poomima J ayaram, Lakshmi, Meena
Released on 6 August 1982

"Badle Ki Aag" (Language Hindi)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Mahaan" (Language Hindi)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Karma" (Language Hindi)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Thandara Pappa Rayudu" (Language Telugu)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Samraat" (Language Telugu)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Dayavan" (Language Hindi)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Saravegada Sardara" (Language Kannada)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Ek Duje Ke Liye" (Language Hindi)
Producer Prasad Productions
Director K. Balachander
Cast Kammal Hassan, Rati Agnihotri
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Saagar" (Language Hindi)
Director Rarnesh Sippy
Cast Rishi Kapoor, Kamal Haasan,
Dimple Kapadia
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Maa Veeran" (Language Tamil)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Simhasanam" (Language Telugu)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Razia Sultana" (Language Hindi)
Processed at MIS Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai

"Padayottam" 70mm Frame

"Padayottam" 70mm frame, supplied by K. Ramachandra Babu

From thirty five to sixty five

Only one camera was made, the one seen in the picture with the Steadicam mount was a prototype to which a Hasselblad lens was temporarily fixed.

Can't we make cameras? The largest film producing country doesn't manufacture indigenous shooting cameras in various gauges of film. Yes we can make, and has gone one step ahead than anybody else can think of it. A young cinematographer Mr. T. V. Somasundaram with lot of ambitions and ideas burning inside all set started with small gadgets to supplement the needs of other cinematographers years back.

He first started with the first set of vacum base with nylon grip cups and different cameras has donned his vacum base for chasing sequences, whether it is horses, cars, trains, under the carriages br over, or on sides and even at ground level. Years have gone thro' with lot of feature films shot with the help of Mr. T. V. Somasundaram. As cinematographer for hot and rugged sequences and still he is in demand for the same. His thirst for new inventions never had a stop with smallones.

Seven years ago he started making a sixty five mm movie camera even the Westerners didn't think about. A camera with less weight, variable and constant motor in one, flexible eyepiece tube, and can be mounted on a steadicam where as the sixty five mm camera manufactured in western countries are huge in size and bulky in operation. (See technical details in box).

Having tested with raw stock brought from London, exposed through Carl Zeiss lens of HASSELBLAD still camera, the results are very good in colourwise, sharpness form edge to edge vithout any grains formation.
Still to improve in facilities, T.V. Somasundaram the inventor waits for further assistance financially and for some Technical parts to be imported for Betterment of the camera. All these years he has struggled to make this camera with his own remuneration he has eamed thro' his profession alone! With a good sponsoring for his completion of camera for operational use, India can be proud of manfacturing the first light weight 65mm Camera.

• Go to Somaflex-65-70MM, India's First 65mm Camera

Wt 19 Kg.
Mount 400ft magazine
Film size 65 mm negative
Governer controlled motor
Built in
Variable constant both O to 50 frames per sec.
Eyepiece short/long both
Shutter 165° can be Variable in degrees
Flicker free see thro'
Double fork pull thro'
Without Registration

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Updated 04-05-22