Saturday, May 13, 2017


The name of A.V.Meiyappa Chettiar is inseparable from the history of Tamil cinema. Born in 1907 into a Natukottai Nagarathar family, Meiyappa Chettiar’s first exposure to business was thanks to his family run venture,a mini department store named AV and Sons. The business also sold gramophone records. The entrepreneur in Meiyappa Chettiar decided to get into its production instead of just marketing them. Thus was born Saraswathi Stores.

Saraswathi Stores tied up with the Odeon label from Germany to market their records here. Several top Carnatic musicians such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar entered into exclusive contracts with Odeon. They recorded dialogues of entire stage plays with songs and also had an in house orchestra in attendance to re record film songs exclusively for discs. Their showroom was in Mount Road, where today the DBS building stands.

Long after the gramophone era, Saraswathi Stores remained a popular destination for cassettes till the 1990s, when it slowly faded out. Today the name still stands thanks to the small outlet run in Alwarpet, next to Sankara Hall.

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