Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cheers to Cinama Halls!

The other day we decided to go for a movie. It was a weekend and I wondered if we could get the tickets.

`Don`t worry Dad- I will check online and I am sure some multiplex will have the tickets`, said my son. Sure enough, he managed to get four tickets for a popular movie in Satyam Cinemas including a reserved parking space for our car and provision for the snacks of our choice to be served at our seats during the interval. I could not but marvel at what technology has done to make life so easy for us.

I also enjoy seeing a good movie with the whole family at the Prarthana Drive- in theatre. We go packed with folding chairs, charpoys and pillows because one can watch the movie sitting on the chair or lying down infront of the car. In spite of the repeated announcements on the screen that outside food and liquor are prohibited, almost everyone carries pre-packed dinner packets or containers carrying a variety of foods in the dicky of the car to be had as buffet dinner during the intervals. And die hard spirited guys carry premixed drinks (liquor) in flasks which they keep sipping while watching the movie!

My mind travels back to the time when I was a student. While watching any movie with friends was a fun activity, acquiring a ticket, especially the lower class unreserved ticket was indeed a battle. You had to go to the theatre a couple of hours before the current booking counter for a particular show opened, stand patiently in the long queue. But the moment the counter opened, all hell would break loose. The queue would disintegrate, with everyone trying to muscle or fight his way to reach the counter so that he could literally grab a ticket before the `House full` board is put up. There would be shouting matches, fisticuffs and even wrestling matches. If you found suddenly a leg or two using your shoulders to step on, you can be sure that it is the aggressive guy who is trying to reach the counter by walking over the crowd!

All the jostling and fighting would be worth your while, if you managed to get the ticket. Even if it meant that you were looking completely dishevelled with a torn shirt! You would feel like a Hero entering the theatre. In spite off all the troubles you had to undergo to see the movie, it was still fun especially if you had bunked your class to see the movie. And the sense of achievement was even greater when you had managed to see an adult movie- though you were still in your adolescence.

I remember the occasion when I went to see an adult English movie in which the sex bomb of the times- Ava Gardner was acting. I was only sixteen and had no hair growth under my nostrils to pass off as an adult I used my sister`s eyeliner to paint a smart moustache which I thought would help me look like an adult. I stood in the queue with a lot of trepidation but managed to get the ticket. But the real test came when I had to enter the cinema Hall and face the ticket checker. Hiding my nervousness and with all the confidence I could muster, I handed over my ticket to him. Surprisingly, without even looking at me, he allowed me in. Needless to say that I did not stop bragging about this small achievement to my friends for the next one week!

Later, when I started working, I preferred to see movies on Saturday afternoons, straight after work. Though I had no reserved tickets I would never be upset with the `Houseful` board prominently displayed outside the theatre. Because I had specialized in the art of buying spare tickets without paying extra! I would wait at a strategic point infront of the theatre prominently displaying cash in my hand – clearly indicating that I am a potential customer for an extra ticket. Invariably someone with an extra ticket, who was afraid of being mobbed by the ticketless crowd if he openly announced that he had an extra ticket, would notice me. He would give me a sign to follow him. I would enter the foyer of the theatre as a part of his group. Once inside the theatre we would exchange money for the ticket. A smooth operation indeed! However, it was important that you were dressed well and looked like a respectable citizen to enjoy this privilege!

Let us f ace it. In spite of the Home theatre and the availability of DVDs of your favourite movies which you can watch leisurely at your home, the experience of watching a movie in a cinema hall can never be dispensed with. Like the die hard cricket fans visiting the cricket ground to watch a match live- though they can watch the same at home with all the advantages that a live telecast of a match offers to the viewers!

1 comment:

  1. very good read Appa
    You find some interesting topics to write about!