Films entered Karnataka at a time when professional theatre was at its peak. There was intense competition between various drama companies for public attention. The first talkie film in India was Alam Ara that was released in 1931.
Within three years, the first talkie film in Kannada had been made. Bhakta Dhruva was the first Kannada talkie film to start shooting. However, in 1934, Sati Sulochana became the first Kannada talkie film to be released and entered the record books.
The film was released in the Paramount theatre in Kalasipalya on March 3, 1934. Paramount theatre does not exist now, but in its palce twin theatres of Parimala and Pradeep have been constructed.
The first Kannada talkie film was produced by non-Kannadiagas. Merchants Chamanlal Dungachi and Shah Bhurmal Chamanlalji produced Sati Sulochana. The film's director YV Rao was a Telugu. He was the father of the famous actress Lakshmi. The music for the film was given by R Nagendra Rao along with HR Padmanabha Shastri. The story, dialogues and songs for the film was written by Bellave Narahari Shastri. The shooting took place in the Prabhat Studio in Kollapur.
The film was based on an episode from the Ramayana. Indrajith, the son of Ravana is the protagonist. Subbaiah Naidu played the lead role while Tripuramba Sulochana played the female lead. R Nagendra Rao played the role of Ravana and Lakshmi Bai the role of Mandodari. Director YV Rao played the role of Lakshmana and CV Seshachalam played Narada. DA Murthy Rao was in the role of Rama and SK Padmadevi played Sakhi.
There were 15 songs in the film including the popular, 'Bhale Bhale Parvathi Balu Chature Bhale Bhale Parvathi.' The actors themselves sung the songs. The film was 15,000 feet long and on February 28, 1934 was certified by the British Film Censor Board. The film had a running time of 173 minutes.