Conquerers of the Golden City

January 28, 2007 at 12:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A long while ago, I saw a movie called The Conquerors of the Golden City on television.  That must have either been a Turkish or Iranian Production and it told the moving story of a family consisting of brothers and a sister migrating from village to the city with visions of plenty and prosperity, and it turned out that city life dealt them a raw deal, particularly crushing on the girl.  I do not remember the end of the story. The family might have returned to their village a dejected lot or slogged on and braved their new miserable life in the city.

I saw a Movie made in Tamil which was almost the exact replica of this movie, at least in content.  Though I don’t readily recall the name of the movie just this moment, I presume it had something to do with a city or ‘Pattanam’ as the rurals call a city in their slang.  This was directed by a famous Tamil Movie Director, S. Balachandar.  I feel more movie ideas can be copied if they can be presented fittingly with the local flavour so that new awareness is created among people. 

If I remember right, more movies on the same strain have been made in Tamil; one with the famous comedian Nagesh in the lead role, as a rural fisherman visiting Madras for the first time and his hilarious encournters there.  There was this very tragic movie whose diagues and story were penned by the literateur-Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu.  This concerned the story of a family which split in their infancy and meet in the city under tragic circumstances in the city.  There is also a humorous episode about a musical group visiting Madras from a famous Tamil movie on the lives of a Nagaswara Vidhwan and a Bharata Natyam Dancer.  My treacherous memory is not helping me recall the title of the movie.  I will come up with it in due course.

In all these movies, Madras is the Golden City which lured people from the villages to come and be bedraggled in the city.

Madras is not that bad really.  The beauty of a thing is in the eyes of the discerner.  Madras is not bad at all.  Madras is the cultural and Carnatic Macca for all Tamilians.  Tamilians from all over want to spend their retiring years in Chennai.  The Chennai Marina still holds its sway over beaches all over the world.   December Music Season in Chennai attracts music lovers from all over the world.  Chennai is still the centre of learning in all of Tamil Nadu.  Though life styles are changing in Chennai as a result of the IT boom, the common man still finds Chennai affordable, and you still get a good cup of tea and hot bajjis in the tea shops, you get a cone icecream still for Five Rupees, and gingery, lemony sugarcane juice is still available on the streets of Chennai.  You get good Madras Meals for affordable rates in Chennai Udipi and Brahmin Hotels and mess rooms.  Chennai is the haven for textiles and gold ornaments, terracotta artefacts.  You witness creativity and beauty in the Government Fine Arts and Crafts College, and the Cholamandalam Artists’ Village.  Chennai still holds annual exhibitions of handloom fabrics, industrial exhibitions,housing exhibitions, Job Melas.  Elecion time is gala time for people to get confused with the promises of politicians, and there are political meetings on street corners.  Though I heard that they have stopped issuing permission for holding public meetings on the Marina.  Marina is also getting a facelift, litterfree sandy expanses of beaches.  If you wish to have a few minutes of peace, quiet and tranquillity, go to any temple on lean days.  Not only will the visit rest your mind, it will also rest your eyes on the exquisite temple sculpture.  You can go to the Ramakrishna Mutt and meditate in silence.

 P.S:  I conclude with a postscript. Just yesterdeay. Madras Government fixed auto fares minimum at 14 rupees, with the meter hurtling at Rs.2/- for every additional kilometer over the minimum fare distance.  Do you think the auto meters will start functioning at least now, or will the automen revert to their old ways of demanding contract rates .

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