Saturday, April 04, 2009

Bandra Blues: Part-1

The bus stop on Linking Road still celebrates Bandra Talkies. Behind is Shoppers Stop, the mega store which replaced it. 

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I remember Bandra Talkies faintly. From early 80s onwards, since I shifted to FTII in Pune, and post it.

The squat building occupied a large piece of open land, little off the tri-junction of S.V. Road, Linking Road and Turner Road, visibly conjoining the first two, and probably facilitating a shortcut.

I don't remember having seen a film there, but it was a reassuring reminder then to the casual passerby that a way of (FSI greed free) life still found breathing space in the otherwise ruthlessly efficient & mercantile rush of Bombay.

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Bandra itself had always been something of an attractive enigma. From one's childhood (in distant, ramshackle Kolkata) one had heard of Pali Hill (along with the Juhu-VileParle Scheme), where the filmi folks lived (actually lived !). For some reason Bandra of the imagination always consisted of well-tarred, tree lined, relaxed avenues, surrounded by elegant bungalows and tasteful lowrise flats, populated by genial, never-in-want-of-money English-speaking fair Anglo-Indians.

Perhaps it were the astute Gujaratis,  sinewy Punjabis and grandiloquent Bengalis (who dominated the Hindi film industry) who were the chief residents of this thus blessed suburb in those times. Perhaps they never spoke English (or spoke it self-conscious desi, like us). Perhaps the Christian community was black, and poor. Perhaps the roads did have an occasional pothole. But the contradictions never struck one. Not then, home alone in Belghoria...