It was a pleasant homecoming as I returned to the familiar lanes of Saligrammam for a walk on "The City and its Cinema" by Venkatesh Chakravarthy, Regional Director of L. V. Prasad Film & T V Academy. There weren't any familiar faces however, to my dismay (except for, of course, the shirtless one). But the programme was very interesting (I wonder why it had been called a walk. Much of the "walk" was actually spent in the the Prasad Film and T V Academy where a documentary film on L. V. Prasad was screened following by a presentation on the history of the Madras film industry).But there were quite a few new things to learn. I was, for example, astonished when told that Arunachalam was actually a film studio nearby. Was Arunachalam Road named after Arunachalam Studios? Mr. Chakravarthy also described in vivid detail how in the late 1970s directors and film crews craved to go to rural areas to do outdoor shootings He called this phenomenon "the rural exodus". But there were a few mistakes, too. A snapshot from the controversial bed scene from the 1937 film Ambikapathy was shown and wrongly captioned as "Kannagi ". Mr. Chakravarthy also repeats the outdated, and now considered improbable, theory that the word "Kodambakkam" was derived from the Urdu "Ghoda Bagh", meaning "stable for horses". But the presentation went far beyond my expectations. And our hosts were gracious enough to take a group photo as a souvenir and send the same through mail so that we might have something more than just memories to cherish.
Group photo of the participants in the L. V. Prasad studios walk. I had difficulty trying to cramp in so that my face appeared.