Suchitra, RJ

From my experience in radio, I can tell that people here want to be a part of a conversation where they are listening. Even when the caller makes an interesting point, he says: “No, no. Don’t put it on air.” I think it’s generations of upbringing where they are told not to speak their mind. Dignity here is about not offending others. To err on the better side of the safety, people tolerate and put up with everything…We are a city of savers. Even during the financial meltdown, spirit-wise we haven’t been affected. Though we are moving forward, we are constantly saving for a rainy day, saving a relationship or saving the job that keeps us afloat.

City is personified by: M.S. SubbulakshmiArya, Actor

Yes, Chennai is seen as a very conservative city compared to a Mumbai or a Delhi. But, we are conservative only in terms of fashion, boldness or exposure, not in thinking. We want to experiment, but not too much. However, this is not a drawback. We are a South Indian city. The North does look down upon us. And, that has knowingly or unknowingly created an inferiority complex. And because we are like this, Chennai is also one of the safest places in the country.

City is personified by: Jayalalithaa. Chennai is basically about cinema or politics, and she’s been on top in both.Cary Edwards, RJ / VJ / Stand-up Comedian

“Chennai is the city of confusion. It’s good to strike a balance between good and evil, but if you are going to sit on the fence, it makes you a non-entity. It makes you characterless. That is because, Chennai is a city where no one wants to make a choice. I love the city but I want to know why we are so underground. It’s a reflection of our political scenario. Why are we hiding so many things? Why can’t we just be?

City is personified by: A little Anita Ratnam and the rest of it is RajnikantVijay Nagaswami, Psychiatrist

Chennai is a blank canvas. On the face of it, it seems like there are so many different Chennais existing in isolation, but somewhere they are interconnected. Chennai is not a classical composite entity. There’s politics in Delhi, Commerce in Mumbai, Culture in Kolkata, and Chennai has all of these and also something that fabrics it together but we don’t know what it is. Chennai is fairly hospitable to people from different cultures. It’s a collection of sub-cultures, but they don’t constitute a gestalt. That’s why it is fascinating because it can be anything and it can be many things. It is accommodative.

City is personified by: I don’t want to name any person but it is an ageing diva… a bit rundown but still graceful

K. Hariharan, Director Chennai has always been divided — into North and South. South Madras is considered progressive but traditional. North Madras is more aggressive and gets things done. The workforce is there and the sub-altern is there. They want to be upwardly mobile, and they will not stop till they get there. North Madras represents the entrepreneurship and the drive of the city. Bharathirajaa and Bhagyaraj had a strong North-Madras culture. They wanted to push the limits and create a counter-revolutionary and counter culture. Today, in North Madras, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Sowrashtrians, Muslims and Christians cohabit peacefully, and it is amazing! The city balances itself because of the internal dividing force.”

City is personified by: It’s Janus-faced —

Vijaya T. Rajendherr and Mani Ratnam. Or Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan.