In the Tamil region, the Dravidian movement was already in place before India got its Independence. The stalwarts of this movement (Annadurai, MGR and Karunanidhi) had a theatre background and soon discovered that the hypnotic medium of cinema could be a propaganda tool. Meanwhile, in the princely state of Mysore, the early years of Kannada cinema was in the bhakti mode, while Telugu cinema was on an excursion with mythology.
Film historian M.K. Raghavendra says Kannada cinema did not even recognise the nation in the '50s. Still, this is not to say that regional identity was in conflict with national identity. On the contrary, it was perfectly alright to simultaneously be Indian and Tamilian, Telugu, Kannadiga or Malayalee. The South imagined the nation through a kaleidoscope of regional aspirations. What gave a huge fillip to such an imagination was the linguistic reorganisation of states, which completely altered the trajectory of South Indian cinema. For it allowed the states to be culturally autonomous while being loosely bound to a federal structure.