Two movies – 20 people in auditorium

In this write up below, Joginder Tuteja shares his experience of watching the first two films that have released post the beginning of producers v/s multiplexes stand of! Five Hindi films released yesterday and I braved to watch at least two films in theaters. So what if I knew that there won’t be anything worthy to entertain me and I would be greeted by empty theaters. Still, I decided to go to the theaters. No wonder, I came back partly amused, partly frustrated with a big question in my head – ‘Given the ongoing stand off between the producers and the multiplexes, till when would audience get subjected to such films?’ I had a choice to pick two films between Ek Se Bure Do, Coffee House, Pal Pal Dil Ke Saath, School Days and Royal Utsav. So let me first talk about the ones that I ignored. Pal Pal Dil Ke Saath – Now I really wanted to see this film for two reasons. a) Ajay Jadeja had made his entry into Bollywood with Sunny Deol starrer KHEL and I wanted to see whether he had improved over a period of time, b) Mahie Gill – now this one was supposed to be her debut film before the passage of time made us have a look at her for the first time in Dev D and Gulaal.
However, to my horror, the film didn’t find a ‘respectable’ release and was playing in a multiplex that was 1.5 hours drive from my home and that too only on a single show. Sorry, too far away. Let me see it on DVD (if at all it arrives on it)! School Days – Now is that a Hindi movie, an English movie, a dubbed movie from the South – No idea! In fact I got to know about the existence of this movie for the first time on Friday morning when I was checking the show timings of the new releases. And suddenly this name comes up – School Days. Aaah interesting. But then the same problem. It has arrived only on one show and that clashes with my favorite movie of the week – Ek Se Bure Do (more about this later)! Strike Two! Royal Utsav – Ahem ahem, should I watch it? But then it appears to be a soft porn in the offering with pre-historic setting to it (remember Alexander – The Great, the film’s poster suggests it has something to do with him). But then I see Mona Lisa’s name topping the star cast. The same girl who has been the leading lady of films like Tauba Tauba, Jalwa – Fun In Love, Bobby – Love And Lust, Phir Tauba Tauba and more. Yeah, now I ‘definitely’ want to watch it! But then kisi ne mujhe dekh liya toh? No way, let me skip it! So I end up making two choices – Ek Se Bure Do and Coffee House. The show timings are still dicey but guess I would be able to pull this one off! Movie: Ek Se Bure Do Time: 3PM Location: A single screen theater (Why a single screen theater? Because time and again one comes across a statement that ‘This film has been made for single screen audiences in smaller towns and cities’. Hence, when I heard about the release of Ek Se Bure Do, I thought of checking it out at a single screen theater. It was sheer nostalgia around seeing a film belonging to this genre that drove me there) Occupancy: 15 people (No they were not critics who were paid to watch the film. They came at their own will) Verdict: After gaining the rich experience of watching the film in a single screen theater after like more than half a decade, I came to realize that not a single individual was left amused with this horrific tale.
Side effects: My 4 year old son (whom I lured to accompany me because no one else was willing to) dozed off in 10 minutes flat! After some evening rendezvous and a dinner later, I decide to watch second film of the week – Coffee House. Yes, I pull in my son again, this time with a promise of ‘Burger Popcorn Combo’ (he loves it!). So here we go. Movie: COFFEE HOUSE Time: 10:55 PM Location: A posh multiplex Occupancy: 5 people (I was surprised that the multiplex was still willing to bear the cost of running a show for a handful of people) What happened inside the theater: There is a couple sitting in the middle of the audi. They both smile at me as I carry my son in my arms and enjoy the luxury of sitting wherever I want. The lady out there must have thought that ‘Hey, looks like this guy has had a tiff with his wife and has been shown the door for the rest of the night’. Sorry to disappoint you ma’m if you are already gossiping about this with the women in your neighborhood. Verdict: The cleaners came 15 minutes before the show was supposed to end. It was close to 1AM and they were probably wondering – If they would be nice enough to leave the film early, we could finish our job sooner and go home! Sorry bhai, I waited till the end credits rolled. No one else in the audi did that though! Side effects: The Candy bar guy came in thrice during the show and asked if I would like to have some popcorn. I said – ‘Free mein hai to le aayo warna rehne do’! He smiled, I smiled and we had a hearty laugh over the issue that multiplexes are facing – NO MOVIES, NO AUDIENCE, NO POPCORN SALES! And yes, before I forget to tell, my son slept off again in 10 minutes flat. Sorry beta, I will treat you with your ‘Burger Popcorn Combo’ once the strike is off. Maybe then we will be back to happier times!

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