September 21, 2009

Use your camera. Document

Videographer-friend Mohandas Vadakara and I are doing a bits-and-pieces job on Mount Road, now called Anna Salai.
We head to this road now and then and shoot the things that catch our fancy.
Mount Road was once the showpiece of the city of Madras. It had a slow death. We may not be able to give it a new lease of life but we can document it.
Progress is slow on the Sundays when I work here. That is because the nooks and crannies of Mount Road are rich in history and whispers.
Narasinghapuram is a small colony that lies behind the offices of ‘The Hindu’, the now-defunct ‘The Mail’ and of Simpsons.
It was once a colony of Anglo-Indians and Goans. The radio market took shape in this area and devoured the living spaces. Over the years, the radio market has given way to the electronics bazaar.
Narasinghapuram is taking a lot of my time because the people who lived here in the 1950s and 60s have lots of stories to share with me. Hopefully, those stories will help us film this part of Mount Road a tad better.
Mount Road always sets off something in me when I am there or when I think about this road.
My fingers begin to itch when I walk through some streets and lanes of the city. And I feel that sensation in Mylapore at this time of the year.
This is the time when anybody who has any type of video camera should go out into the streets of Mylapore and start shooting the sights, sounds and smells.
In some ways, these small, amateur videos can contribute to the documentation of a city, its people and its life.
Recently, I realised that substantial video footage on kolams exists. And most of it has been shot during the annual ‘Mylapore Festival’ that my team and I design and direct. This was a festival that started as a kolam contest 13 years ago.
Part of this footage has now been included in a documentary made specially for UNESCO as its recognizes the kolam to be what we call ‘living heritage’.
This is the season for all those who have little video cameras to go out and shoot the interesting things you see around you in this city.
Spare a little more time on this effort and you can have a wonderful film on your hands. Post it on the Net and the world will enjoy it. And those images will live for posterity.

No comments: