Due to enormous emails and requests from friends [ பச்சைப் பொய்.. ஒரே ஒருத்தன் தான் கேட்டான் :) ], I share about the video experiences during the school days. My school days were of mixed experiences - ranging from a town to city. I have had the opportunity of watching street plays, Mahabharatham oration [ 18 days - கர்ண மோட்சம் கேட்டா சிலருக்கு 'சாமி' வந்துடும்..]. Of course, the all time favorite cinema was major entertainment [ even now ! ]. In the evolution, we had spent some time with video cassettes too.
In my Amnijikarai ‘Kaathaadi’ days, I was the first point of contact for any TV schedules. Though our home didn't have one, I had the complete information. Movies/Songs were so attractive those days that we used to wait for the Friday, Saturday [ hindi movie ] and Sunday. We used to run to Mohan's house or 'Mala' akka's house for watching some Tamil movie [ Anandha ragam, Nellikani - Sivakumar ]. Pon Chandrabose was my friend's father and he had big bound books claiming them that were his scripts. He is acting in some serial it seems.
I remember 'Adade' Manohar was staying in the next street [ Vellala street - Aminjikarai ]. Aminjikarai memories deserve more blogs [separate one for Murugan stores and kaathaadi experiences ! ] to share. Sometimes, strangely we have seen 'Roopavahini' too [ Srilankan channel ] with news in a different dialect of Tamil and some movie. Antenna [ Aluminum fish bones :) ] setting needs special skills and coordination [ இப்போ ?.. இப்போ ?... இப்போ ?...ஆன்ன்ன்.. அப்டியே உட்று :)].
In my hometown, we watched TV in even more distorted pictures [ மணல் நதிகள்! ]. Basha bhai's wife used to collect entrance fees to watch the movies [ 15 paise, 25 paise ] - We fight for the place and watch some junk films like Vadai malai [ Bhakthi film - Srikanth acted :) ]. No guarantee if it rains. Then we shifted our place to Jabbar teacher's home. They used to tease me asking the film and actor details. Without knowing their intention, I used to explain whatever I know right from the cast to the director. They were really worried that whether I really study and show the same interest in studies. My school has my name in the achievement board [ then it was history.. சொல்லி வை.. ha.ha. ].
For any of my early experiences, they come in 2 flavors .. one as in Chennai-29 and the next as in my town.
We had a neighbor in the first floor [ lived in flats in the 80's itself :) - G1 is ours.. but deviamma or umaamma veedu was the identification. The Marrati neighbour owned a video shop in Shenoy nagar and they get the deck during the weekdays for their family. I still remember the rexin container bag for the video player, with red velvet inside. They never allowed me inside to watch movies - Never care of insults when you are after something, seriously. Mostly, I win by getting in and watching some movie. We had another family in the street where they rent movies and screen with entrance fees [ mostly less than a rupee ].
I can say the movie names even now [ Namma ooru nalla ooru, 36 chambers of shaolin, Naan sigappu manidhan [ useless trivia : SriBrindha, Permabur theatre, started its operation with this film - they regularly screen Rajini movies ]. Shaolin temple, Mandhirap punngai, Poo vizhi vaasaliley, many Jackie chan movies ]. Myself and my younger sister used to sniff anywhere a video deck is rented.
We used so many techniques to get into any video screening place. It was little bit tough if it was night. My mother used to locate me with the chimes sound of Nayagan film. She used to close her eyes and look for me. I was a good friend of my school master [ Prem - He ws like 'Alfredo' in cinema paradiso for me]. He used to give special treat during christmas and new year.
A sub-plot story - I used to roam with him during weekdays. He took me to Shenoy nagar in cycle, bought ice-cream, showed ICF ad then we work for fun in Venkateswara Bhavan in Aminjikarai [ State bank sandhula ]. Then we have our lunch - on the way back I used to buy cut films [ Sivappu suriyan - மிஸ்டர் மிரண்டா.. எதிரி எவண்டா ஸாங்க் வேற.].
It’s the other extreme in my life. I watched theru koothu, Silambam, Poo Garagam, thee midhi [ rewinding when I saw last week the advt of Rayiladi Nagathamman thee midhi thiruvizhaa poster :) ]. We used to check the sky for stars during the video screening days. That’s a signal that video function will happen without any issues by rain. The tradition in our home town is to screen first 'Kafhaa' – a documentary on Muslim’s pilgrimage. It’s about a journey towards Mekka n madina. And then the variety of Tamil films [ Kaalaium neeye maalaiyum neeye, urimai geetham, nayakan, Manithan, pickpocket, tick for treat, evil dead [ evil dead was not a horror movie instead it was awkward ].
Nayakan was the only film which I have watched enormous number of times in different forms Cinema,deck, tv, vcd and dvd. I still remember telling to my cousin that the photography was really good in Nayagan. We saw that in a dark night and open street.
It was a real bad culture of that time that they screen 3 films in night for any damn functions at home - right from 'kaadhu kuthu' to the final journey. Mostly they organize this in streets with magnifiers sometimes or white screens sometimes. Mostly the crowd favour for an action or comedy film.
I'll end it up with a poem from Na.Muthukumar's collection.
கடந்து வந்த பாதைகளை
குடிசைக் கூரையில் சைக்கிள் டயர்.