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A Worthy ContributorFriday, December 23, 2005

The first telephone call received by VT (Vijay Times) Sport on December 23, 2002,the day of our inaugural issue was from a reader.

He said, "You have made a decent start. Convey my congratulations and my best wishes to all your colleagues at Vijay Times".

Since that day he has been in constant touch with us. He will either call us over the phone or pen his views.

While dealing with mistakes and blunders committed by us, he would be ferocious. "What the hell is happening over there? How can these things escape the eyes of the journalists?" He would roar and would regain his composure at once saying "you people are capable of doing better".

And whenever he was impressed with our work, he would hail "I know you will take that angle. It was wonderful. Keep it up." He himself is a brilliant writer not only on sports but also on various subjects from poltics to film songs. Hence his understanding of the relationships between journalists and readers has always been near perfect. Now in his mid 70s, he is not writing his letters as frequently as he used to do. But his weekly reviews over the phone are serving as a tonic to those who handle VT Sports pages.

He is A.R.Subramania Iyer, affectionately called as ARS by his close associates.

He has been an ardent follower of State sports for over five decades. His best days began in the 1960s when he started sending sports press releases pertaining to his institution (State Bank of India). His press releases used to be so accurate and interesting that we used to call those releases as a sub editor's delight. After retirement, ARS chose to write letters to the editors. "Once a letter appears in print, writing becomes a habit. You feel like writing almost every day. Sometimes after writing letters, I used to decide not to send them to any of the publications. On such occasions, I used to become my own editor" he said once.

There is bound to be persons like ARS in almost all areas of the State. Some do not write but explain orally. Still others who do neither but possess the ability to form their own opinion on men and matters. Newspapers are meant to help readers to form their own opinion. And when readers make the most of the 'Letters to the Editor' column, with positive approach, it will certainly boost the moods of an ambitious society.

On this day, with the first issue of the fourth year we express our sense of gratitude to ARS and the members of the huge hidden army called 'readers'.

Reproduced from the pages of VIJAY TIMES a leading newspaper published from Bangalore on Friday, December 23, 2005
A Movie Times ColumnFriday, September 4, 1953

MOVIE TIMES, a weekly film tabloid published from Bombay in the 1950s carried a lot of features concerning movies from Bombay. It was a popular magazine and all the news and features were treated in a novel way. Among its contents was the column highlighting the readers’ views on films and other matters of interest published in the magazine week after week. The best contribution to this column was awarded a prize of Rs.25/-every week.

In its issue of September 4, 1953 it published the following:

“Reader A.R.Subramanian of the Sales Department, Indian Telephone Industries, Dooravani Nagar, Bangalore, made our task easier this week by writing a letter which, at the very first sight, we marked as the prize winning letter of the week. So, to him, Rs.25/- with our compliments. Writes he:

‘Kindly hand over my bouquet to the author (who ever he or she is) of the excellent front page article, Panic in Filmdom. The opening sentence is highly significant in relation to the article which starts off with it. At first I agreed with the remarks but when I finished reading the article I had to change my opinion. I should think that we could better have articles with screaming headlines if they are as good as the one which adorns this week’s front page of Movie Times than the million dollar smile of a movie queen. Give us more of this type of articles. Another item that struck me as excellent is the column devoted to the Readers’ Letters. Written in a style novel in the annals of Indian journalism, this column should prove the best feature in Movie Times

‘The rest of the features are not at all bad in comparison. Please keep the standard up and here is some friendly advice: Do not succumb to cheap sensational stunts.’

Have we succumbed, dear readers?”

The above short write up got me a prize of Rs.25, needless to say, a princely sum in those days. I still possess the original issue.

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