Aug 31, 2010
The famous website Wikipedia describes movie theatre as, “A venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures.” I disagree with that definition as its true meaning has been very different for me and my sister till date.
During school days, movie theatre for us would mean hot samosas, Pepsi, leaving early from school, watching the VICCO VAJRADANTI and Colgate advertisements before the movie, being guided towards our seats by the theatre employee with a torch, sitting in the balcony area, travelling by rickshaw and much more…
Whenever a movie releases, the reviews, the ratings, the performance are shown on television and people judge the movie based on that. But it’s never been the case for me and my sister. Watching a movie in a theatre has always been an experience in itself. After all, our Bollywood and Hollywood stars can be better viewed on a large projection screen than on our televisions at home.
It was the same case with my sister (Veena) as well. We would actually be excited days before our dad and mom took us to watch a movie. For Veena, the term meant slightly different. She best knew Movie Theatre as “SAMOSA THEATRE” as her ultimate target were the samosas sold over there. Girls her age were crazy about dolls and stuff, but she was crazy about samosas (only from the theatre). If given a few samosas, she would not disturb anyone for hours. And if dad would complement that with an ice cream, for us it was like finding kryptonite.
I, on the other hand, was excited about the fact that I could leave early from school. But then there was a hurdle. When my mother came to pick me up, my class teacher would narrate all my sins to her. But that confession would last barely a few minutes and then the fun would begin.
The journey to the movie theatre would begin.
We used to hire a rickshaw. During those days, rickshaw travel was indeed special. We would reach the theatre and make our way through the crowd to meet dad and my sister. My dad would say, “We’ve got balcony” and I would feel proud of my Senior Almeida. After climbing a few steps, we would open a big door and enter the dark auditorium. The theatre employee would guide us towards our seats with his torch and we would finally settle down just in time to watch the VICCO VAJRADANTI and COLGATE advertisements.
That was way back when malls didn't exist. The ticket used to cost Rs 25 for stall and Rs 40 for balcony. This was years ago.
But the concept of movie theatres has come a long way. We now have multiplexes, cinema cities, movie planets... we also have 3D, and even 4D movies. Some movie theatres are now equipped for digital cinema projection, doing away with the need to create and transport a physical film print.
Watching a movie at home and watching it in a theatre makes a big difference. Nowadays, literally everyone downloads movies on the internet to watch them on television or computer. Even I tried doing it, but honestly speaking it is not even close to the fun of watching movies in a theatre.
The best example of this is the famous Shahrukh Khan-Kajol starrer “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge”. Over the last 15 years, it has been running at a famous theatre called “Maratha Mandir” in Mumbai, and successfully too. Even today this movie gets 60-70% occupancy on weekdays and sometimes a houseful audience on weekends and holidays. It’s been a decade since the original DVD of this film released but even today people shell out a mere Rs 22 for balcony tickets, dress circle for Rs 20 and stall tickets for Rs 18.
Another good thing about watching a movie with family at a theatre is the feeling of being together with our loved ones. Very rarely do we get anopportunity to spend time as a family because of our hectic work schedules and other commitments.
Last week Veena came back from work and she was very tired. I informed her that I had made plans to go for a movie that day but as she was tired, I suggested that we cancel the plan. She stared at me for a second and then asked, “Will I get samosas there?” And the rest is history….
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