The poet who wasn’t Shelley

For 14 years, from 1952-66, Ashokamitran worked at Gemini Studios, the film production house in Madras founded by S.S. Vasan— the Boss—that was then an entertainment powerhouse. The young Ashokamitran’s job, he writes, in “this movie kingdom of six hundred subjects” was to “mutilate large numbers of newspapers and affix the clippings under a variety of heads from ‘Aarey Milk Colony’ to ‘Zoroastrianism’. These were stored in cupboards and cupboards of files.” At Gemini, it was not just film stars that Ashokamitran encountered. In a droll memoir of his time there, ‘My Years With Boss’ , he writes of keeping company with poets. Besides the home-bred variety, Gemini Studios and its increasingly befuddled staff also played host to poets and lapsed Communists from outside India. An excerpt from Ashokamitran’s account of the visit of a poet from England, who was neither Tennyson nor Wordsworth nor Shelley, the few English poets the employees at Gemini could feign familiarity with.

Gemini Studios was the favourite haunt of poets like S.D.S. Yogiar, Sangu Subramanyam, Krishna Sastry and Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. It had an excellent mess which supplied good coffee at all times of the day and for most part of the night. Read more

Source: Live Mint

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