Pure Cinema Book Store provides a platform for young people to recognize good cinema
A full-fledged cinema bookstore, supposedly India’s first, can be found in Chennai, and elsewhere in Vadapalani. Pure Cinema Book Store, bookstore-library, opened in April 2016, has many surprises in store.
From the entrance, you get a panoramic view of the 1,100 sq.ft. lot. area, where carefully labeled shelves line the walls. Start browsing and keep moving – planning the shelves gives you a full guided tour of the place. “There was a lot of thinking,” says Arun, the owner. “The bookstore is centrally air conditioned. We wanted to give it a modern and corporate look.
The inventory – a thousand titles with several copies of each – is “all about the movies”, or “good cinema” as Arun puts it. The oldest book here was published in 1985, although the library stores rare editions. The collection includes books on Tamil / regional / world cinema, magazines – copies of Sridhar’s film Chitralaya magazine, Bommai, Salanam, Pesum Padam, a hundred numbers of Deep focus on Cinematography and Indian Cinema, a GOI publication and the Cinema Law for research.
“We provide all the facilities for people who want to do research. We have a compilation of discussions Professor Dharmaraj of Madurai Kamaraj University has had with academics. There’s a bunch of related material: on film music, plays, comics, paintings, and books that have been turned into films and documentaries. Buy them here or online at the website.
My navigation gives autobiographies and biographies of actors and directors – Tamizh Panpaattil Cinema, Best of Tamizh Cinema, Tamizhar Vaazhkkaiyum Thirappadangalum, the pictorial volume of MaGnaSe on Sivaji, Thiraiyulaga Anubavangal de Sujatha, Oru Nizhal Nijamagirathu, Rajniyin Punch Thanthiram, books on film technology, in-house translations – to name a few.
After a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the insistence of his parents, Arun took a three-year film study course in London on a scholarship; he also holds degrees in visual communication, journalism and an MCA. The latter got him a job at an IT company, where he stayed for seven years. But the weekends saw him working in his Tamil studio with a group of co-thinkers on a “parallel move” for good cinema. “I didn’t find any good short films so I started the Kurumpada Vattam (short film company) in 2008. We discussed films, organized events, invited people from the cinema to conferences,” says -he. He brought rural graduates to Chennai for a year-long film appreciation course. “Directly and indirectly, we have trained five lakh graduates,” he adds.
The next step was a thematic online magazine based on cinema Padachurul, which now has a paper avatar. “Readers in Canada and Switzerland bought them,” says Arun. The bookstore – whose name is borrowed from the French film movement – was a natural next step, in partnership with fimmaker Mysskin, who runs fundraising workshops. “All of them are Tamil Studio spin-offs, 98% of us are young people. I haven’t hit breakeven yet, but it’s not a loss-making proposition.
The library-bookstore promotes good cinema through seminars and screenings, but there is no sermon, says Arun. Books he does not approve are also on sale. Movies are big influencers in Tamil Nadu, so Pure Cinema Book Store is doing its part “to get our young people to recognize and discuss good cinema”. The bookstore is located on West Sivan Road, Vadapalani.