Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Madras Day 2008: Day One

80 people greet us at the parking lot outside Fort St George. For the first of two walking tours of the fort. With me is Dr. Suresh, the archaelogist who has just got back from Gingee Fort, assisting DD on a docu-film.
Doing the walking tours of the fort early in the day isn't easy - security issues bind you but on this occasion, in addition to the green signal the police have given us, the awareness of Madras Day among the men and women at the gate, makes this is a smooth check in.

I enjoy taking people around the Fort. On a holiday, you have this great space to yourself.
When we end this walk a shade before 10 am this Sunday, I guess most of the 80 who came along also enjoyed the tour.
Suresh will be back next Sunday (24th) to repeat this walk. I won't. I have a new one to lead - the Mount Road Walk!

The time is just right to peep into a formal event at the Taj Connemara - the release of an illustrated book 'Historic Residences of Madras', an effort of V. Sriram and Chandra Sankar.
Copies of the book, well packaged, are given free to all the guests. (If you want one you may have to chance a query).
This Sunday evening, the Chennai Heritage talk is at The Park Hotel. V A K Ranga Rao and V Sriram talk on the early music recordings of Madras. This is Rao's area - the man is said to have hundreds of music records, tracks and labels of all kinds. With pictures and music clips, it is an enjoyable journey.
A question pops up - since the talk dwelt almost completely on classical music, was this the only form of music recorded then?
Friends who are at this talk carry on the debate as we unwind. We talk about the pre and post- Illaya Raja era in film music. And we talk about the Anglos and the Goans who were the backbone of the film music industry of Madras.
And lo! We have a topic for a talk for 2009 - Contribution of the Anglo-Indian and Goan Community in Madras to Film Music - and volunteers to work on it.

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