Pure Cinema Book Store provides a platform for youngsters to recognise good cinema
A full-fledged bookstore on cinema, claimed to be India’s first, is in Chennai, and where else, in Vadapalani. Pure Cinema Book Store, a bookstore-cum-library, opened in April 2016, is full of surprises.
From the entrance, you get a panoramic view of the 1,100 sq.ft. area, where neatly-labelled shelves line the walls. Start browsing and keep moving right — the shelf-planning gives you a complete guided tour of the place. “A lot of thought went into it,” says Arun, the owner. “The bookstore is centrally air-conditioned. We wanted to give it a modern, corporate look.”
The inventory — a thousand titles with several copies of each — is “all about movies”, or “good cinema” as Arun puts it. The oldest book here was published in 1985, though the library stocks rare editions. The collection includes books on Tamil/regional/world cinema, magazines — copies of Sridhar’s Chitralaya magazine, Bommai, Salanam, Pesum Padam, a hundred issues of Deep Focus on cinematography and Indian Cinema, a GOI publication and the Cinema Act for research.
“We provide all facilities for people who want to research. We have a compilation of the discussions Prof. Dharmaraj of Madurai Kamaraj University had with scholars.” There is a load of allied material: on film music, plays, comics, paintings, and books that have been made into films and documentaries. Buy them here or online through the website.
My browsing yields autobiographies and biographies of actors and directors — Tamizh Panpaattil Cinema, Best of Tamizh Cinema, Tamizhar Vaazhkkaiyum Thirappadangalum, MaGnaSe’s pictorial volume on Sivaji, Sujatha’s Thiraiyulaga Anubavangal, Oru Nizhal Nijamagirathu, Rajniyin Punch Thanthiram, books on movie-tech, in-house translations — to name a few.
After a BSc in Maths at his parents’ insistence, Arun went on to do a three-year course on film study in London on a scholarship; he also holds degrees in visual communication, and journalism and an MCA. The last one got him a job at an IT firm, where he stuck on for seven years. But weekends saw him working on his Tamil Studio with a group of co-thinkers on a “parallel movement” for good cinema. “I found no good short films, and so launched the Kurumpada Vattam (short-film society) in 2008. We discussed films, held events, invited film people for talks,” he says. He brought rural graduates to Chennai for a year’s course on film appreciation. “Directly and indirectly, we have trained five lakh graduates,” he adds.
The next step was a movie-based, thematic online magazine Padachurul, which now has a hard-copy avatar. “Readers in Canada and Switzerland have bought them,” says Arun. The bookstore — whose name is borrowed from the French cinematic movement — was a natural next step, partnered by fimmaker Mysskin, who conducts workshops for fund-raising. “All are spin-offs from Tamil Studio, 98 per cent of us are youngsters. I haven’t broken even yet, but this is a no loss-making proposition.”
The library-cum-bookstore promotes good cinema through seminars and screenings, but there’s no preaching, says Arun. Books he doesn’t approve of are also on sale. Movies are great influencers in Tamil Nadu, so Pure Cinema Book Store does its bit “to get our young to recognise and discuss good cinema”. The bookstore is located on West Sivan Road, Vadapalani.
Thanks, The Hindu.
The Only Bookshop in India Exclusively for Cinema Books, Located at No.7, West Sivan Kovil Street, Vadapalani, Chennai 600026. Opposite to Vikram Studio, Near Vasan Eye Care, Second Floor of Diet-in Restaurant