Navodaya Studio is an Indian film production house producing films in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
Headquartered in Kerala State the studio was founded in 1976 by Maliampurackal Chacko Punnoose, who is also known by the name Navodaya Appachan. Shooting floors are located on the hills of Kakkanad in Kochi.
Appachan set up Navodaya after he parted ways with his brother Kunchacko's Udaya Studio. Under the stewardship of the veteran filmmaker and his two sons Jijo and Jose, Navodaya Studio established itself as a trail blazer in the art, technique and technology of cinema. Over the years Navodaya Studio has contributed many talents who are household names in South India cinema today.
With the studio's homegrown style of working, many aspiring technicians and artistes learnt the ropes at Navodaya and are leading their fields of specialisation in Indian film industry.
Technological innovations by Navodaya range from Cinemascope to 70mm to 3D. Navodaya introduced the Avid Digital Editing Suite for the first time in India in 1992. The studio took up the task of weaning older film editors from the cumbersome Moviola to the speed and comfort of digital editing and digital sound track assembly. Younger entrants were trained at Navodaya. This is to say that filmmaking in south India migrated to the digital era even before Hollywood started deploying desktop systems for film post-production.
Navodaya's first film Kadathanattu Makkam (1978) was produced and directed by Appachan himself. The second film Thacholi Ambu (1978), also directed by Appachan, was the first Cinemascope film in Malayalam.
It was followed by Padayottam (1982) which was arguably the first 70 mm film in India. (The postproduction work of Sholay 70mm was done in the United Kingdom. But for Padayottam, the 70mm blow up and six track magnetic sound work were done at Prasad Lab., Madras and Chitanjali Studios, Trivandrum).
In 1984 Navodaya released India's first 3D film, My Dear Kuttichathan directed by Jijo.
Apart from these landmark films, Navodaya also produced numerous hit films in Malayalam including Ente Mamaattukkuttiyammakku, Manjil Virinja Pookkal and Chanakyan. The studio at Kakkanad was later renovated through the 2000s to cater to the needs of the booming television industry. Appachan's son Jijo Punnoose has taken over its functioning and reinventing as a digital age production house.
In 1995 Navodaya created "Kishkinta", the Themed Amusement Park in Chennai. Appachan's son Jose Punnoose has since taken over its functioning.
Appachan, along with the Navodaya Studios, was awarded the J. C. Daniel Award in 2011 for "outstanding contributions to Malayalam cinema".
In 1989, The Hon. Kerala High Court in an unusual suo moto move, invited Appachan of Navodaya to complete and release a film called 'Kadathanadan Ambadi' whose production was embroiled in a dispute between a finance company who produced the said film, and its investors - pensioners who had deposited their life savings in the finance firm. It says much for Navodaya's professional reputation that in a landmark judgement the Supreme Court of India decided to entrust Appachan - a person unconnected with the film, with the further production and distribution of the film so as to plow back the funds to the thousands of depositors who had lost their savings when the said finance company, after diverting funds to the said film's production, went bankrupt.
1978 Thacholi Ambu
1993 Bible Ki Kahaaniyaan (Television series)
1998 Chota Chetan (First 3D film with DTS)
2003 Magic Magic 3D
2012 My Dear Kuttichathan (Digital 3D)