Okay, picture this. You have booked top notch seats in the over prized multiplex (wait, they are all overpriced – redundant adjective). You are all geared up to see this movie with widespread acclaim. And then it begins. But not only on the screen. Oh you denizen of utopia, not only on the screen.
Lately, I just can’t seem to watch a movie without being surrounded by people who talk as if its their living room, kids who cry as if their umbilical cord has just been cut, and mobile phones that constantly sing obnoxious ring-tones that their owners are too obnoxious to turn down. It is a cacophonous Rohit Shetty film and you don’t even have a helmet. So, I decided to try and enlist the various reasons behind this curious phenomenon.
Reason #1: Like they say in the sacred books, first look for the fault in yourself. It is my poor sense of enjoyment and film appreciation that interferes with my experience and not the audience’s rowdy behaviour. Films are a community experience and meant to be talked over and about, notwithstanding the genre. If a candle-light procession in “No One Killed Jessica” doesn’t bring to my mind a candle-light dinner, I am unromantic. If I didn’t find Shabana Azmi’s monologue towards the end of Neerja remotely funny, I have a bad sense of humour. I am “old-school” and boring and have no sense of fun at all!
Reason #2: They have little children. Kids who are mature enough to understand sensitive content like a plane hijack but not grown up enough to control a potty or susu impulse every fifteen minutes. These parents don’t have a caregiver at home so obviously they think it’s fine to jeopardize my viewing experience. Whoever heard of Home DVDs or torrent anyway?
Reason #3: They have a vast expanse of knowledge that would go unnoticed if not shown off in a theatre. After all, there’s nothing quite like talking into the darkness, telling yourself that anonymous, hidden faces are nodding in fervent approval. Dim lighting makes a Ted Talk speaker out of everyone.
Reason #4: The world would end if their calls and messages go unanswered. It is of prime importance to update your Facebook status, change your WhatsApp profile picture, and Instagram a few no-filter selfies – all during the film. And for other things, it is not worthwhile going out to speak. How can my money, time and experience be of any value to you?
Reason #5: Big film critics do this. You need to discuss the movie minute by minute and talk about the spoilers loud enough for everyone to hear. This is important for highly intelligent films like Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, which a recent acquaintance of mine claimed he had to see twice to understand and truly cherish. It is even more important for films with an actual story like Neerja, or “slow” films like Room. In case you didn’t know, good films should be laugh-a-minute, with a car flying or goons fighting or a sexual innuendo thrown around at least every quarter of an hour.
Reason #6: And finally, they live in a democracy. I mean, I do too, but they probably take too much to heart their freedom of expression and speech. Of course it’s okay to talk whenever they want, however much they want. This is why they get enraged when people don’t stand up for the national anthem before a movie. But they conveniently forget that they can’t encroach on someone else’s right to enjoy peaceful value for their ticket money. I mean, how dare you ask them to be quiet? Freedom of speech! Call the media!
A professor from college once told me about a European film festival where, the moment you talked or your phone beeped, an attendant would come escort you out. That is an uplifting thought. Dear know-it-all, talkative, inexcusable parasite on the rest of the audience’s time at the theatre, may I suggest Europe to you?
In the meantime, I only have this to say to these unceasing talkers – Shushhh!
*Picture Credit: Giphy