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Friday, 22 January 2016

Patronizing theatre

It was a dull Sunday morning. I woke up with a slight headache. May be it was a result of gormandizing several chapters of Chetan Bhagat’s “Five point someone” at one go in the late night. After a very busy and hectic week, I was in no mood to work on Sunday. I decided to skip my Sunday M.B.A. classes. Breakfast, browsing the newspaper and the Internet and checking the e-mails consumed my day upto 11 a.m. When you have been slogging for a very long time, you crave for a holiday. But you are so accustomed to slog that the holiday soon satiates you. The whole Sunday noon and the evening where yet to begin and I was already bored. I called up my friends asking them what was their plan for the day and whether we could meet. Each of my friends had already chalked their respective plans for Sunday and no one was in a mood to alter the same for me. Alas! I was assured that I was going to be alone for the entire day.

After having a scrumptious meal, I had a nap upto 3 p.m. Even after having the rare pleasure of having a nap in the afternoon, I had a lot of time for my disposal. I studied a chapter from my MBA course for an hour. I decided that I was going to make the most of my evening, no matter whether I was alone or with someone. I was in a dilemma whether to catch a movie or hang out at the hanging gardens or Chowpatty. I love going to crowded places, as they are indeed a miniature of our varied and diverse culture. I was apprehensive of watching a Hindi movie, as it has been my experience that neither the movie in the multiplex nor the popcorn served over there are worth the price. I abandoned the idea of visiting the hanging gardens or chowpatty for the only reason that it would not help me to kill my time for more than an hour. 
I finally decided to watch a Marathi movie at the Bharatmata theatre. It is indeed a novel experience to watch a movie at the Bharatmata. Although one may miss the luxurious seat cushions, the air conditioning or the clean loo. Not to forget that at Bharatmata it is not a mere watching movie, it is like a visit to the village fair. I was astonished to see crowd of enthusiastic people queued up from 5 p.m., to watch a movie (that too in Marathi) scheduled at 6.30 p.m. Majority of the audience was young and comprised of both men and women, dressed to their best as if they were attending a wedding. The queue along side the footpath kept on increasing. There was a bhayaani with vermillion powder filled in her center-partitioned hair, sprinkling water on cucumber in an attempt to make them look fresh and cool. A theatre patronizing Marathi cinema with a North Indian vendor: indeed a cool idea to bring about national integration, no matter what Raj has to say about it. She made a good business from the audience lined up for the movie, which comprised of mostly the lower middle class. With prices being as modest as Rs.18/-, a movie at Bharatmata is an affordable affair for these families.

Suddenly my attention was diverted from this colourful crowd to a person with camera, accompanied by another wearing a three forth pants holding a broom like equipment, probably used for a film shoot. Both of them stood at the divider of the main road, adjusting their camera. Having done this they crossed the road and landed up on the pavement where the audience had queued up. They captured the glimpse of the queue through their camera twice, featuring the backs of the people followed by their faces. After people the cameraman and his assistant with the broom started shooting the posters of the film displayed in a very 70’s fashion.

In the mean while, the sale of tickets had begun. The queue was moving at a speed of a heavily pregnant lady. After spending about 40 minutes in the queue I managed to get a ticket bearing seat number C-23. I moved in through the obsolete gates of Bharatmata.
People were strolling in the tiny theatre corridors, as the doors of the cinema hall were not yet opened. I found the cameraman and his assistant now accompanied by two pretty women dressed in jeans and kurtis and a man with a ponytail and some weird fashion of beard. The cameraman was about to speak to me when I received a call on my cell phone. I attended the phone call and came back. This time the chick accompanying the cameraman introduced herself. She told me that they were making a documentary film on Indian cinema for Doordarshan and the person, whom I thought to be cameraman, was actually the director of the film. She asked me whether I would mind if she interviewed me. I happily assented. She asked me to sit on the steps beneath a tree and answer questions put by her by looking at her. She questioned me as regards the plight of Marathi films, Bharatmata, social issues and cinema and cinema in general. Seeing me being interviewed the audience started flocking towards the spot where I was being interviewed. I felt like a star. After my interview some people even shook their hands with me, as if they had met Shahrukh Khan. The chic interviewed me for about fifteen minutes. She noted my name and phone number in her pocket diary and asserted that she would inform me as to when the documentary will be telecasted. 
Now the audience had started entering the hall. I occupied my seat, in the third row from the back. I enjoyed the 2 hours typical paisa vasool masala movie churned out by Mahesh Kothare accompanied by the hooting and whistling merry audience. I had a gala time watching the Marathi movie at Bharatmata. It was an experience which luxurious multiplexes would not offer. Indeed three cheers for my Marathi and the Bharatmata, which has been patronizing Marathi movies all these years. Such is its impact that even the documentary film makers couldn’t think of any other theatre.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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