What comes to your mind when you think of Vada Chennai (North Chennai)? The makers of Dhanush’s upcoming film, Vada Chennai, released an 8.45-minute video that has people sharing their views on Chennai’s oldest neighbourhood.
Visuals of fishermen hauling in fresh catch, line-up of boats, children dancing, singing and playing, fish being fried, waves rippling – are juxtaposed with Chennaiites sharing their opinion on the area. The video brings in a mix of opinions ranging from “I’d never live in a place like North Madras” to “they take care of outsiders as their own”.
“South Chennai has been for the authorities while north is the land of the labourers. Malls, theatres… everything is in the south. Do you know what’s there in North Chennai? There’s a cholera hospital in the North and Apollo in the South,” says one of them.
“Our kids play cricket, silambattam but all their games die down in this area itself. There’s no development,” says a lady to the camera. Then there are those who call North Madras a rural area, a ‘kachada’ (dirty) place and the place with the ‘rowdy’ boys.
Yet there’s no denying that Vada Chennai beats with a heart of its own. “Here’s where even if I were to walk on the roads at 12 in the night, I’d have people to help me, if I were to call out for help. I realised it only after moving to a place like Anna Nagar. Even if someone were to hit you here, no one would come forward,” says a young woman who shares that she was born in North Madras.
In that sense, North Madras is a closely-knit community with a great mix of people. The video ends with one of them saying, “We’ve got Muslims, Jains, Telugu and Tamil people living here. There is all sorts of food and culture. We celebrate all kinds of festivals here.”
The documentary video was created by Nee Yaaruda Komali (NYK) and edited by Prakash Govindaraj.
Vetrimaaran’s ambitious Vada Chennai, which will be made in three parts, has a huge star cast that includes names like Aishwarya Rajesh, Ameer, Andrea, Kishore, Samuthirakani and Daniel Balaji. The film’s music has been composed by Santhosh Narayanan and its first part is slated to release this Wednesday, October 17.