How Delhi watched movies before the age of multiplexes

LINK

BOOK EXCERPT

“These halls were dream-palaces where business, art and entertainment commingled, but their personal histories also intersected with the larger national narrative. Reading about murderous rioters attacking the Sikh-run Swarn hall after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, I couldn’t help think what a grotesque merging of real-life tragedy and reel-life drama it was that the film playing at the time was Jeene Nahin Doonga. Or that when Badarpur’s Seble hall reopened after a similar mauling by rioters who had the covert encouragement of politicians, the film it showed was Dharm aur Qanoon.”

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8 Responses to “How Delhi watched movies before the age of multiplexes”

  1. omrocky786 Says:

    Wow, thanks for the link…..so many memories of Dilli Cinemas ..a must have book for me.

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  2. It was a different experience; You felt privileged in Balcony; in some sense Multiplex is a leveler if you can afford the starting cost to get into the hall. I have seen movies in Sangam, Chanakya, Priya, Paras and once in Shiela (Sarfarosh). Of course I liked going to PVR-Saket which opened in 1997.
    Also the sense of security for the women folk is more in multiplex.

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    • omrocky786 Says:

      Ya the Balcony was a privilege., and there too…Bhaiyya Center Corner kee dena !!
      We would go to Palace Cinema from DU, armed with the letter from the Student Union President !!
      waisey toh I probably saw movies in 95% of Delhi Halls including Jagat, Moti, Naaz, Golcha…….

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      • Yep..When I first came to US, realized there is no seat numbers and most of folks here like to seat in middle rows rather than top/behind. We Indian are hardwired to grab seats at top in middle. It is always funny when Indians are haggling over seat in any desi movie in US. I often find security guy trying to pacify people.

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      • omrocky786 Says:

        LOL, there are barricades, additional security for Hindi movies at AMC…. and the movies always play at their largest capacity screens.
        Remember having a big fight at the Taal screening due to the fact that two of us were holding 20+ seats for our family and friends and this one family tried to sit there….
        we were tunnn and so shloks were coming out non stop !!
        P.S- Now we are all responsible dads !!!

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  3. *** Great piece by Sajid on the lost BEAUTY of single-screens which can NEVER, NEVER be replaced by the ugly multiplexes. And Eros and Metro were such fun..***

    The thrill is gone, writes Sajid Khan

    Wednesday, 27 May 2015 – 6:25am IST |
    Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna | From the print edition

    Sajid Khan

    The opening visual of Max’s car on a 70mm screen left an indelible image in my head, which can never be erased.

    Last week, I saw the new Mad Max film in a local multiplex. 14 shows a day, Rs400 a ticket and not even 25 people inside the hall. Small screen entertainment… WHATTT??? Have I gone mad? What am I talking about? How can a multiplex be called small screen entertainment? Isn’t that what you are thinking? Well…

    In 1981, when I was 10, I saw the original Mad Max at Eros Cinema, Churchgate. How did I see an adult film as a 10-year-old? It’s because my older friends had gone mad talking about the action in the film. So I decided to bunk school, tried to get in with the crowd for the 12:30pm show and got thrown out by the gatekeeper. Tried again at 3:30pm and got caught again by the same guy. Tried again at 6:30pm unsuccessfully. But for the 9:30pm show, he took pity on me and let me go in.

    The opening visual of Max’s car on a 70mm screen left an indelible image in my head, which can never be erased. For me to have entered the theatre to see the film was a sense of achievement! Just like any film buff or moviegoer in the ’80s who would stand for hours in line to buy tickets in advance to watch any film (Hindi or English), I did the same. It’s a different story that a local hawaldaar in his blue uniform (in the ’80s, they wore blue shirts and blue shorts) caught me outside the theatre saying, ‘Sharm nahi aati hai, bachcha hoke adult film dekhta hai?’ I said, ‘Aapko sharam nahi aati hai, bade ho kar chaddi mein ghoomte ho?’ Oh, the thrill of watching movies!

    I enjoyed the new Mad Max too. It’s just that though the film is thrilling, the thrill to watch the movie had gone. There was no sense of achievement and that’s what happens with most moviegoers today. We are a film-watching nation. Arguably, our culture is cinema. At many religious places all over the country, holy songs are remixed to hit Hindi film tunes. But today, film watching is not THE option; it is one of the options. Most multiplexes are situated in shopping malls. Besides shopping and hanging out at the food court, watching a movie is also something you indulge in. But that’s NOT the case with single screens! There, you only watch a movie. The thrill’s still alive there. Good or bad films, notwithstanding. I’m not trying to be a champion for single screens. But the truth is — they’re getting extinct by the day. And just like they can never match the gentry and the comfort of a regular multiplex, a regular multiplex cannot match the thrill of watching a film in a single screen. Same film, different worlds.

    Of course, very select, count-on-your-finger types multiplexes have large screens. They’re called IMAX screens and Hindi movies don’t release in the format. Because of space constraint to fit in maximum screens in one building or a floor, screen size in a regular multiplex is half a single screen. Do a comparison sometimes; it’s great fun.

    Long live single screens! Now I’m off to watch Tanu Weds Manu Returns at my nearest… multiplex!!!

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    • omrocky786 Says:

      Re.- So I decided to bunk school, tried to get in with the crowd for the 12:30pm show and got thrown out by the gatekeeper. Tried again at 3:30pm and got caught again by the same guy. Tried again at 6:30pm unsuccessfully. But for the 9:30pm show, he took pity on me and let me go in.

      Hope the Sickular Media does not interpret it as – Cinema Hall sey Muslim ladkey ko Nikala !!

      Like

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