Book Reviews

Memories of Madras

A Compilation of Writings of Randor Guy and on Pesum Padam

Memories of Madras, a compilation of writings of Randor Guy and on ‘Pesum Padam’

This voluminous 470 long pages of the book is no fiction but carries a bunch of vintage tales on several Movies, Musicians and Men of Letters. The contents are, therefore, divided into three parts. The chunk of the book is mostly on movies and Movie Moghuls.

Mostly, the book covers the age-old story of the city and its connections to basically movies, music, makers and a host of persons connected to them. Basically, on the movie side one could read about MK Tyagaraja Bhagavatar, Shivaji Ganesan and MG Ramachandran. On the musicians' side, one could find MS Subbulakshmi, NC VasanthaKokilam, GN Balasubramaniam, DK Pattammal, Papanasam Sivan to name a few.

The last chapter has little to do with showbiz and deals with the popular personalities in the field of law and lawyers of merit. We have details about VL Ethiraj, his disciples, and some Duraiswamy Iyer and T Muthuswami Iyer.

The problem with this book is the narration is more like a stream of thoughts switching from one to another with or without relevance in certain places. Unfortunately, there are no photos in the book and only running matter from page to page. 

Those who want to know about the ancient Madras and its anecdotes can go through the book. It has the advantage that readers can selectively choose the person, or topic and go and read them also.

The book on the whole is a heterogeneous blend of interesting, informative as well as a certain insipid details also. For oldies who still remember those days, this book may be a trip down the memory lane.

Anyways, Chennai had come a long way dropping and with the disappearance of many things from the Good Ol’ Days of Madras. 

Talking so much about Tamil movies of those days, it is appropriate to mention about ‘Pesum Padam’ a popular film monthly which analyzed the movies released in the previous year thoroughly and publish a Certificate of Merit in their Special Issue in April, like best film to actors, producer, director, music and singers. It is just a certificate, no trophy or grand celebrations. But, we used to look forward to this issue eagerly. I searched the net and got only one Pesum Padam Citation and Selection of Merit for the year 1959. Just have a look.


More by :  G Swaminathan

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