Tamil cinema is the Tamil language film industry based in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is a part of the cinema of India. It's centrality to the Kodambakkam neighbourhood of Chennai has led to the industry's nickname Kollywood, the term being a portmanteau of the words Kodambakkam and Hollywood.Tamil cinema has been described as the leading industry of South Indian cinema, often rivalled by Telugu cinema (in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh), and accounting for the second-largest global box office gross after Hindi cinema (also known as Bollywood) among all Indian film industries.
The first Tamil silent film, Keechaka Vadham, was made by R. Nataraja Mudaliar in 1916. The first talking motion picture, Kalidas, was a multilingual and was released on 31 October 1931, less than seven months after India's first talking motion picture Alam Ara. By the end of the 1930s, the legislature of the State of Madras passed the Entertainment Tax Act of 1939.
Tamil cinema later had a profound effect on other filmmaking industries of India, establishing Madras (now Chennai) as a secondary hub for Hindi cinema, other South Indian film industries, as well as Sri Lankan cinema. Over the last quarter of the 20th century, Tamil films from India established a global presence through distribution to an increasing number of overseas theatres in Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, Japan, Oceania, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. The industry also inspired independent filmmaking in Tamil diaspora populations in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Western Hemisphere.