J. C. Daniel is an Indian Filmmaker who is considered as the Father of Malayalam Cinema.

He was the first film-maker from Kerala, who produced, directed, wrote, photographed, edited and acted in the first film made in Kerala, named Vigatha kumaran (The Lost Child) .

He also established the first film studio in Kerala, he take a house of nagappan nair pattom (sarada vilasam)

Travancore National Pictures.

The Government of Kerala instituted the Kerala State Film Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992 in his name, as a part of the Kerala State Film Awards, to honor lifetime achievements in Malayalam Cinema.

Daniel was born on 26 Februar 1900 in a Tamil speaking Christian Nadar family .At that time they lived at neyyattinkara.

then they make a house in Agasteeswaram taluk ( Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu).

He finished his formal education from H.H.S Maharajah’s High School, Thiruvananthapuram. (now it is university college)

He was interested in martial arts and was an expert in Kalarippayattu, the traditional martial art of Kerala.

He try to publish an English book titled Indian Art of Fencing and Sword Play in 1915, when he was 15 years old.


In 1924

Daniel Weds Jannet

Daniel was well aware of the scope of cinema as a public medium. He wished to popularise Kalarippayattu by harnessing the popular influence of cinema. At that time the common man of Kerala was not even aware of the medium of cinema, hence the idea was quite a challenge. He took up the challenge and left for Madras (now Chennai) to learn techniques of film-making and to acquire necessary equipment for the purpose. Madras was the budding centre of film production in South India and had the only permanent talkies in South India, named Gaiety which was established in 1917. [citation needed] However, he was unable to realise his plans in Madras and was even denied entry to various studios in the city. That didn’t stop the determined Daniel from pursuing his dream. He travelled to Bombay (now Mumbai), the centre of Hindi cinema production. He was able to obtain entry into film studios in the city, claiming that he is a teacher from Kerala and wanted to teach his students about cinema. He gathered enough knowledge and equipment for film production from Bombay] and came back to Kerala to fulfill his dream.

In 1926, Daniel established the first film studio in Kerala named The Travancore National Pictures. It was near the present Public Service Commission office, Pattom, Trivandrum. He obtained funds for this purpose by selling his own land that is 108 accer in Neyyattinkara

, Daniel finally started the production work of the film of his dreams. He wrote the script and titled it Vigathakumaran. The film did not have sound or dialogue. He directed and wielded the camera for the film and also played the role of the protagonist in the film. P. K. Rosie acted as the heroine. He also did most of the post-production work including editing. The theme of the film was of social significance and was one of the earliest films of the genre. At the time, when most of the Indian films were based on stories from the Puranas and films with social themes were rare, Daniel showed creativity and originality with his selection of the theme of the movie.

The first malayalam movie VIGATHA KUMARAN was exhibited in Trivandrum at the Capitol Theatre on 23 OCTOBER 1928. Despite being the very first film made in Kerala and having a socially-significant message, it faced the wrath of certain orthodox sections in the society due to the presence of a woman in the film. Rossy, who played the role of the female protagonist, was disbarred from entering the theatre, raise their an issue that cast dispute .

Daniel became indebted as the movie was not a commercial success.

He descended into poverty towards the end of his life, spent at Agastheeswaram.

Though he applied for pension under the scheme for ailing artists, the Government rejected it since he was born in Tamil Nadu. In his books and articles, noted film journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan originally established that Vigathakumaran was the first Malayalam film and that Daniel was its architect as director, producer, cinematographer and leading man. He described the story of Vigathakumaran in articles published since 1960,

but Kerala Government initially rejected his crusade citing Daniel was not a Malayalee. The Government version was that if Daniel wanted a pension or financial assistance, he has to approach the Tamil Nadu Government. However, Gopalakrishnan’s campaign was finally successful and Daniel obtained government recognition as a Keralite, being honoured as the Father of Malayalam Cinema.
J. C Daniel died in on 27 April 1975