Severed wrists, legs or blood: Ask and you will get at this Chennai shop that Kollywood loves

This reporter had to hold a bloody, severed hand for a few minutes in order to speak to the owners.
Severed wrists, legs or blood: Ask and you will get at this Chennai shop that Kollywood loves
Severed wrists, legs or blood: Ask and you will get at this Chennai shop that Kollywood loves

A severed wrist is casually tossed on a table with a granite top. A portion of the bone sticks out of its rear end, barely visible in the midst of red tissue and coagulated blood. Shopkeepers and customers at this store in Vadapalani however, are completely unbothered by this gruesome sight as they discuss the price of 'two hands and a wrist.'

Welcome to Glamour Cine world, the one stop shop that Kollywood camera persons and make-up artistes have made a beeline to for the last four decades.

From varieties of fake blood, severed limbs and monstrous masks, to lights and reflector cloth, this store has evolved over the years to cater to most needs of a camera department.

Which is possibly why veterans cinematographers such as PC Sreeram, Balasubramaniem, RD Rajasekhar, Sukumar and Priyan are apparently regulars to this 15x20 sq ft shop on Arcot road.

"The store was first opened by my father SMS Hameed in Kodambakkam in 1986," says the current owner SS Mohammad Meeragani. "We then shifted to Vadapalani because all major studios including AVM, Bharani, Prasad and Mohan existed here," he explains.

When the store first started, tapes and equipment to clean and develop film roll were also sold in large quantities. But as digitisation wormed its way into the movie industry, Glamour had to move with the times.

"70% of the cine industry comes to us. We sell all kinds of reflector cloth here - silver, gold, red net and even green and blue chroma screens," says Abdul Khader, who has been working at the store for 10 years now.

"With High Definition becoming a norm, we had to even stop getting the special make up used for cinema. We now stock up on regular brands such as Revlon and Lakme that personal makeup men come and buy," he explains.

According to Khader, the camera and make up material for Ajit starrer Vivegam and the yet to be released Vijay film Mersal were also bought at this store.

"Do you think these heroes and heroines actually look like that when the camera captures them? Not at all," says Khader.

"This gold reflector is held in such a manner that sunlight hits it and reflects on the artist. That is how they glow on screen," he explains. Glamour in fact, stitches reflector cloths together as per the size specifications of its customers.

As for the severed limbs, "Do you remember the scene in Kanchana where all those hands protrude out of the sand? The material was bought from us," he says proudly, holding on to a severed limb.

"Even for Dasavatharam, the make up was bought from us. But make up artistes then did a lot of work on it to mould it for different characters," he admits.

Glamour sources most of its material from Bombay and sells them as a retail unit.

While sales are currently steady, the owner admits that they are losing out to foreign markets which have more advanced material. "We used to have a monopoly in this market before. But more stores have cropped up and people are importing goods, so that is affecting us. But we have developed a stellar brand name thanks to the variety and quality of our products. That keeps us going," says Meeragani.

In fact, flocking to the store now in dozens are budding filmmakers who are trying their hand at short films. "These students usually have a small budget and so we price it in a manner that allows them to afford material as well," says Khader.

"The severed wrist for instance is Rs 450 while the hand is Rs 750. We even have vampire teeth to go with two varieties of fake blood - coagulated and watery," he adds excitedly.

Meanwhile, a customer walks in to inspect some lighting material. "Here, hold this," says Khader, handing over a bloody hand to this reporter before walking away to make his next sale. 

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