PVR Cinemas has come up with a delightful scheme. You watch any movie, any day from Monday to Thursday and as long as your show timing is before 1 PM, all you have to pay is 50 bucks. 50 bucks! For a seat that ordinarily ranges from 125 to 250 Indian rupees! While it is obviously a strategy to boost the weekday-morning slot, it is paying rich dividends. The multiplex at Saket was bursting with people when I stood at the counter, checking and cross-checking. My clutch clicked, invigorated at the thought of having extra money for knacks and knicks. A row-full of Thursday seats for “Kahaani” is now all booked for us. The family, it seems, wants to go watch one more time.
The Bong Connection, some giggle. Oh yes, that may certainly be so. I adore the whole backdrop: Ma Durga with her kids, the glittering pandals, the glowing streamers, Rabindra Sangeet, married women playing with sindoor on Bijoya Doshomi (Dussehra)…such a joy to be a part of every year and so beautifully depicted on-screen. Even the nuances of the city and its people – Kolkata in all its vintage glory – make for a treat on their own.
Delhi, on her part, has received the movie in a multitude of ways. I observed a few as I stood waiting. For instance, this is how a group from Delhi University reacted. All boy-group, if you please:
D.U. Student, Ranbir-Tee: “Please don’t get that flick… that pregnant-woman… Vidya Balan movie!”
Ranbir’s friend, Plain Black Tee: “But I have heard it’s good. It’s a thriller dude!” (asks group to vote between Kahaani and John Carter)
The majority was inclined in favour of Kahaani and I was very heartened to see them pepped about it. No, I have nothing against Mr. Carter. But a story about people on Earth excites me more than one about Martians.
Then there was this young couple stood ‘whispering’ outside the queue, loud enough for everyone to hear:
Boy: Do you think this is the kind of movie you see out on a date? (rolls eyes) It is about pregnancy for God’s sake!
Girl: No it is not! It is about a woman who lost her husband. Do you have no emotions whatsoever?
Last thing I heard, the boy was lecturing her about how Vidya was wearing skirts and nighties all through the movie and did not have one song to her credit. The girl was in deep contemplation. I think, about the boy. 😀
I tell you, Delhi has all sorts of people. You will find ones dancing on Dhinka-Chika on the streets; you will also have people doing the same in the secrecy of their house. There are people whose hearts are warmed with a display of bright colours and meanings attached to frames. There are also those who buy tickets to sip their cola noisily and spray popcorn at random people.
Sometimes, it irritates me no end. The film industry has no dearth of movies. Romance, comedy, drama. Documentary, art, parallel. Where is the need for a stampede? Where is the need to get tickets to some random flick if all you want to do is spoil the fun for others? In Kahaani, for instance, there is a long list of moments that I loved. The play of red and white, splashed beautifully across the screen. The hand-held cameras, capturing the peacock statue in the guest-house. The countryside of downtown Kolkata, from the windows of the police jeep. Vidya stealing in a Dairy Milk in the little boy’s hand, laughing despite herself. I could go on.
It helps if someone doesn’t giggle when the background score is all mellow. It helps further if people – those who are super informed – do not discuss theories and climaxes for the ‘benefit’ of those around them. Every time I see a menacing group, I wish I had a sound-proof chamber. See, I appreciate the ‘fun’ angle. But is it really fun to prove to people you’re ill-mannered? Couldn’t the fun get more arm and leg space outside the theatre? I wish theatres come up with rules for silence. At least, specify a decibel range or a list of acceptable actions.
Anyhow, I look forward to the next viewing. This time, I hope to make up for lost moments. I also hope – ardently! – that the theatre has people who have better ideas about extracting their money’s worth.
Seen Kahaani yet?