Randor Guy, one of Madras’ best story-tellers and historian of cinema, the legal world and crime whom passed away on Sunday, April 23 at a private Home on the ECR, had deep Mylapore connections though he resided here only for a few years.
Born into a family that hailed from Nellore, young Ranga Durai ( who later tossed around that name to name himself Randor Guy, a name that still puzzles readers of his work) came to reside in Desikachari Road, now known as Desika Road.
“It was from here that dad went to attend classes at Pachaiyappa’s College,” recalls Randor’s daughter Priya; marriage brought Priya from Randor’s home in Ayanavaram, to Dr. Ranga Road where she and her family have resided the past 18 years.
Randor studied law and began a career in that profession. He was a junior at the office of the famed lawyer V. C. Gopalaratnam whose roots are linked to the vintage house, Vasantha Vilas, that stands on South Mada Street, Mylapore which is the publisher’s address for The Law Weekly, now over 100 years old.
Recalls Priya,” It was here that my Dad got to listen to some of the fascinating cases of the city that were handled by Gopalratnam. Here, he got to meet famous people and great lawyers.”
Randor’s intense reading of crime thrillers, the legal case stories that filled him and his passion to write, changed the course of his life – he started what was a long, fascinating, colourful career as an independent writer – on early cinema and music, on the legal world and on the famed crimes of Madras Presidency and of Madras.
But freelance writing didnt pay and yet Randor churned out copy prodigiously. Says Priya, “He didn’t earn much and when we were in school and wanted money for picnics and outings our Mom would say ‘no’ but Dad would say – ‘send them’…somehow he arranged for the money. He was light and humorous even in tight situations and that’s what I remember him best.”
“He had a large number of friends and fans in Mylapore and he liked coming to Mylapore for his talks,” recalls Priya.
There are many Mylaporeans who still treasure clippings of Randor’s works in English and in Tamil – serialised in newspapers and magazines.
Recalls Ramakrishnan, the promoter of Arkay Centre in Luz, ” When I mentioned to Randor that I had the collection of all his ‘Kolai Vazhakkugal’ series he wrote in Kumudam magazine – 1969-1970, he came home and was elated to see the collection. He told me that day in early 2008, and I quote, ‘I am an atheist, but if there is God, today I believe it.’
Randor was a regular public speaker at Arkay Center, He spoke on a series on ‘Films and Carnatic musicians’ and on MS and films. Later when Arkay started the monthly screening of vintage Hollywood movies, Randor would give an introduction – this series ran for four years.
Randor was also featured at talks at TAG Centre and at P. S. High School.
He wrote a long, weekly series in Mylapore Times – on famed personalities of this zone.
Recalls Raji Muthukrishnan who was sub-editor at Mylapore Times. “I had the good luck to interact with this wonderful raconteur. Randor was a fascinating man . My job was to co-ordinate with him on his weekly columns for Mylapore Times. Interacting with him on the phone was something I enjoyed. He was always prompt with the columns and ready to clear doubts.”
His cremation, a simple one, was held on Monday morning at Besant Nagar. Randor is survived by his wife and daughter Priya.
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One Comment on “Tribute: Randor Guy, deep Mylapore connections and loads of Mylapore stories re-told”
It is a Himalayan loss for fans of Randor Guy sir whose writing and style attracted large number of readers.I met him few years ago at his Ayanavaram residence.he was humble and simple.Nice man.