Monday, July 22, 2013

Why I love CINEMA?

                   My earliest memories of “ Bioscope” is when I was offered some chocolates by African american soldiers when my father was watching some picture at Madras Beighton theatre. I donot remember the picture but I think I liked the atmosphere.My father was an avid picture goer  and so when he was posted in villages as Panchayat officer, he was the one to give Licences to the  Picture Tents  . Due to some idiotic rule at that time, the tent used to be moved six months later to another place as required by Government law! But being son  of Panchayat officer, I used to get a chair while the general public used to watch sitting on the ground. Also I used to get a glass of tea.! What I remember also is the times when picture used to be stopped due to some snake slithering amongst the crowd. MK Thiagraja Bhagwathar, Raja Kumari are some of the names which comes to my mind. I think from mythologicals which ruled the Tamil cinema at that time, the first sociological picture was “Samsaram” which created a wave in Madras and we were posted at Thiruvottiyur which was a suburb at that time.

       Soon the Tamil cinema came to be dominated by NT Rama rao( Perennial Lord Vishnu/Krishna),A Nageswara rao  and Nagendra rao.I used to love the signature music of Gemini and AVM studios and pictures like Chandralekha,Pathal Bhairavi left their imprint along with songs by Ghantasala.Soon we had “Velaikari” written by ANNA founder of DMK and Parasakhthi written by Shri Karunanidhi and Raththa Kanneer of MR Radha which revolutionised the social aspect of Tamilnadu.But a school boy like me used to love the Flash Gordon of Buster Grabe, Captain America which used to be screened in Gaity theatre near Mint of Madras.But I have to endure my fathers English movies like “Gone with the wind” which I never understood.But soon English pictures like One eyed jacks, Biblicals like Samson and Delilah of Heddy Lamar. Quo vadis etc were and other western movies were a pleasure watching them in Minerva theatre, the only AC theatre at that time in Madras.My father used to frequent Plaza theatre in Trichy and I used to like pictures like Trapeze of Gina Lollobrigida, Burt Lancaster, Picnic of Kim Novak and so many english pictures.
  When we were posted in Ranipet, my friends suggested we see a Hindi picture “ Ek do theen” of Meena shorey in neighbouring Arcot and her big breasts were an added attraction to all of us  who were adolescents.  The awesome Tea from Inba theneer viduthi  near Arcot bus stand was an added attraction.Soon I saw Awara, and AAN of Nimmi,Dilip Kumar and I was hooked to Hindi movies along with English and Tamil movies.”Tumsa Nahin Dekha and its Music was one of those which I still remember.I cannot forget Shakila of CID fame and also Nadia and John Gawas of Hunterwali. We in Tamilnadu at that time were not even allowed to look at the girls except slyly while the girls never even looked at us. so if a girl looked at you and you locked your eyes that used to be heaven for us the adolescents It is here i remember the film Pyassa in which Mala sinha looks at Guru dutt from under her bench and locks her eyes. WOW it was one of the sexiest scenes for me at that time
  The person who made me cry copiously was A.Nageswara rao in Devdas and Gemini Ganesh,Revathi combine in “Sumaithangi” and so many other actors like Shivaji Ganeshan etc.
I think they have their own role in taking out tears and reduce depression in me!!
     Pictures like Ben Hur or  the chariot race or the westerns of Clint eastwood and its Music werre everlasting. .Music reminds me of Musicals like The sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, My fair lady etc.
   I think it was by sheer luck I saw “Enter the Dragon” at Anand theatre in  Madras as I was curious how it is still attracting crowds after more than a year. WOW what an entertainment and I was hooked to this genre and I never missed all those Shaolin pictures and the recent being “Crouching Tiger” and Jet Li pictures.
   I Must also remember the picture halls which have vanished  but gave immense pleasure in their own way. Palace de wales of Tinnevelly Junction and Briyani at Sultania restaurant.New Elphinstone,Midland,NewGlobe,Minerva of Madras city and Briyani at Bukharies .Later modern halls like Shanthi, Anand came and also Vecumsee’s Sapphire etc.How can one forget the Kempe Gowda road of Baangalore and the first theatre “Alankar” with lights for seats and screen opening. Trichy’s “Plaza” , Chanakya, Shiela and Priya of Delhi have all gone into history with modern PVR and INOX opening in every city and town of India. Pop corns and burgers have replaced the lowly tea and samosas and vadais etc.
   The advent of VCR and renting movies for rupees 10/- of VHS cassettes and TV pictures might have played its own role in reduction of theatre going for Cinemas due to economics  of picture viewing in a theatre.
    Did Cinema play a role in my making me as a person. I think it definitely did play an important role  especially in a repressive society like in Tamilnadu where just looking at a girl was considered a sin.The love between teens of different castes is a sign Cinema playing its part in breaking  barriers like caste, religion, money etc etc. and may be evolution of Politicians in Tamilnadu my home state.Do I see cinema now? I do see occasionally in TV but not at one
full stretch. Theatre going may be distant dream for me a Cancer patient under palliative chemotherapy. I only hope it continues to play its part in Indian Psyche.

No comments: