Words: ROI, weeds, marketing, poha
The Royapettah Omapodi Industries (ROI) should never have been named such. In fairness, two of the three founding members were actually from Triplicane. However, it was decided that the abbreviation TOI was too similar to the word toy. Food, however, was serious business.
In the 1980s, ROI did roaring business. This was the era of thunderous thighs and wonderous bellies. The heroines were competing with each other. In every studio, a special department was designated to provide the heroines with the best of snacks. ROI became a dedicated supplier to the Bigger Heroines Project (BHP) to all the studios. Since the AIADMK headquarters was next door, the film contacts came pouring in. Their name and their location was all the marketing they really needed.
More than the omapodi, and other savouries, Mrs Chandrasekharan and Mrs TK Krishnamoorthi discovered, it was the sweets that added the weight to the heroines. Their menu became detailed. In fact, it is well known that the heroines of the late 1980s became rather big, and this caused an acute shortage of sugar supplies in the open market. It was the reason why the sugar market had to be liberated from the clutches of the Public Distribution System. In fact, it would be fair to say that ROI caused the government to adopt more liberal policies. It was the only way to keep the heroines well fed.
But with the 1990s, the heroines began to shed weight. The heroines became like weeds. Thinner. Without any apparent use. The first signs of the decline were when the heroines from the North started to stick to their own diets instead of the morning pongal which all the others had before them. When Sneha Khandekar (of course, renamed Sumangali in local films) asked for poha the first time, the ROI realised doom was imminent.
The three wonderful women from Triplicane (and Royapettah) filed for bankruptcy. The heroines vanished. Tamil Cinema went into a period of decline.
PS – Yes, I cheated. I left out the word poha. But first one in the series, kindly excuse!
PPS – Thanks to some Gobi – I managed to squeeze in Poha too.