Theater Hall With A Difference

Image courtesy of Apple's Eyes Studio at
Image courtesy of Apple’s Eyes Studio at

Understandably there are a lot of things which we wish were not as they really are and this column enables the reader to give vent to their despair and displeasure. But there are two sides to a coin and there are some things and gestures that ought to be appreciated as well.

Criticism comes easily for us, but to appreciate a good deed is a worthier cause as it may inspire others to follow suit. So here, I set the precedent for others to follow.

I booked a seat at the Neelayam theater for the noon show. I reached the theater rather early and there was about half-an-hour left for the show to begin, so I roamed about in the well maintained and spacious environs of the theater. The tickets were still being sold at the counter where everyone was standing in a queue waiting for his turn. There was no sign of tickets being sold in ‘black’.

The show was for noon, but the usher let us in ten minutes before twelve. I leisurely made my way up to the balcony and noticed on my way up that there were bins at regular intervals for people to spit. Though I strongly dislike the habit of chewing a pan, this was a logical step to take in order to avoid inconvenience to others and to avoid spoiling the decorum of the hall.

After settling down there was still some time for the movie to start, so I looked around. The hall certainly was a beautiful one with wooden paneling on the walls.The seats too were in good condition and the hall was spic and span. Moreover there was adequate leg-room between the rows. The fans worked for a change and there was a gentle breeze dispelling the stuffiness.

Indeed the service charge collected from the audience was being utilized for their benefit. Throughout the movie, I was put to no inconvenience or discomfort and I really enjoyed this outing.

While video tapes do affect the cinema hall business, yet another reason for decline in viewership at the theaters is that often it so happens that the theater’s ambience does not seem congenial for a family outing. But am sure if the theater is maintained well with proper service that I experienced, it will again attract people to the movie halls to enjoy the movie as it should be – on the big screen.

So once again, kudos to the theater management for striving to maintain the cinema hall impeccably and to make it a pleasure for the thousands who throng their halls for fulfillment of their celluloid dreams.

This piece appeared in the ‘I Object’ column on December 4 ,1993 in the youth supplement of The Indian Express in Pune, India.

Am sure the expectations must seem so basic compared to glitzy screens we have in modern-day multiplexes. And a different era it certainly was since there was no explosion yet of the internet,Cable TV, VCD, DVD, DTH channels that changed the average cinema goer’s expectations. The ticket prices too were more amenable as the amenities too were far less.

And you had stars who endured and stardom had a mystique that lingered – it seems to be all the more difficult to achieve that now as overexposure and commercial templates dominate the mainstream. Thankfully newer formats have evolved so niche audiences get to see films like The Lunchbox, English Vinglish, Kahaani as well.


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