Viewfinder: Not just a movie theatre
In this week's column, the author discusses the possibility that cinema theatres could be used for more than just the screening of films
There’s an adage about how you never feel more alone than when in a crowd. Its truth is best experienced inside a cinema theatre — in the presence of strangers, and why, sometimes in the presence of your close friends. In every good film, no matter how star-driven, there comes a time in the story when it becomes an intensely personal experience. It’s when the slightest disquiet feels like commotion, the slightest distraction feels like chaos. It’s nothing short of magical that even the most reticent, the most introverted, can have moments of deep spiritual reflection inside a densely populated cinema hall.
Such a private place could now become a different sort of venue, if some of our theatre owners get their way. You see, the idea they are toying with — and they have already approached the government with it reportedly — is to screen cricket and football matches. It’s not that big a leap, I suppose, given the general merrymaking our theatres allow. Star vehicles, especially, often get screened in the presence of flying confetti and bursting crackers. Theatres, during such times, turn into a raucous venue of revelry. I can only imagine the reaction of audiences from the West, who are generally used to all-consuming quiet in movie halls. Given how things are here, you can understand the natural temptation of movie theatres to look for alternative video content, especially in bleak times such as these. Chief among the enjoyment of experiencing sport in a gathering, is the invariable socialising that occurs. The high-fives, the arguments… Would theatres, if given the permission, play matches in the dark, or would they make an exception and risk people flinging popcorn at each other?
Purist film audiences may frown, but watching, say, a Champions League final on the big screen armed with Dolby audio, would be quite something. My friend and I have forever wondered how incredible it would be to even catch web series in theatres. Imagine the opening music of say, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, playing at Sathyam? I’d likely lose my sanity in the ensuing excitement. Sports, web series, concerts… Should theatres get the permission to screen any of these, I would simply utter a modern expression: “Shut up and take my money.” There are some rather unexciting developments too. Some theatres are also considering the possibility of organising weddings and corporate events in their premises. To this, I say, in the immortal words of Lieutenant Aldo Raine, “Now, that I cannot abide.”