Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Have you ever watched a movie at a cinema hall all by yourself? I sometimes do so, and thoroughly enjoy the experience (and the movie, too).

In Kolkata, it is not quite the done thing for women (of any age) to go and watch a movie by herself. Only the intrepid ones do it, because a single woman (of any age/visage/girth) attracts stares (at best), catcalls or pinches targetted at softer parts of the anatomy. Maybe I am exaggerating - they say that times they are a changing in Kolkata, too.

But here in Mumbai, they have already changed and it's not a big thing for any individual (man/woman/third gender) to enter the multiplex and enjoy the movie and one's own company.

I have done it sometimes and enjoyed every moment. For one thing, I get to choose the movie. I am rather picky about movies, especially if they come at multiplex prices. I saw OM SHANTI OM (delightfully kitschy), FASHION (tease-and-gossip lowdown), and, very recently, OYE LUCKY LUCKY OYE (layered rollicking critique of consumerism from a wannabe-at-any-cost's viewpoint). I doubt if the spouse would have sat through the first two.

I could gaze starstuck and plot-awed at the screen, blissfully undisturbed for three hours. I don't feel forced to apologise for my choice (how could you drag me to see this #@it?) or to go into lenghthy critical discussion of subtleties (This part seems borrowed from that prehistoric Hollywood movie - well, who cares? Even Shakespeare copied. If it entertains me, I'm happy). I could read my books (THE WHITE TIGER - which is a more trenchant critique of India Shining and India Struggling and MAUS - I and II - graphic novels exposing unforgettably the horrors of the Holocaust) in the multiplex lobby till the movie started. I could forgo the cola and the popcorn (mandatory when the kids tag along) and chew on my thoughts instead. In peace.

The last time I took the kids along (for TAARE ZAMEEN PAR), taking in the 2 p.m show (because the younger Copy-kitten would sleep through the movie), it was a mini-disaster. The elder Lil Cat refused to cry even when the rest of the audience were sobbing away, because she wanted to have something to eat. Her plaintive demands woke up the Copy-kitten, who went into bawling-overdrive right away. I paced the lobby and missed vital chunks of the secind half, had steamed corn and popcorn dribbling down my T-shirt, and had to stomach all that overpriced-leftover grub at the end of the movie, which I nearly missed.

No more. I now go alone for the 10 a.m shows (after rushing through my classes for that day), and relax and revel in my-time matinee freedom. Long live the Movies.


Lazyani said...

Hey, Lucky Lady, you have time to see a 10 0'clock movie? Want to trade jobs?:)))

In the meantine, enjoy your time with yourself with no added attention seeker grabbing away at it. These moments are priceless.

Pradip Biswas said...

Suchatasu Sucharita

Your write-up reminds me, my days of struggle in 1975 when we were struggling for a job, studying hard For GSI Job in libraries. We rented out our bed space to a businessman for dumping his napkins packets on our bed for the day for Rs2 and used to enter cinema halls for matinee shows to catch a nap. In those days Visitors were few for matinee and by buying a 0.50p ticket after sometime we used to sneak in the Balconies, which was the coolest place to sleep and nice place to recharge our nerve cells. We could spend another 0.50 p for tea and remaining 1.50 Paise for meals at night. Nice exchange with the businessman!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Lazyani,

Teaching at college in Mumbai means starting the workday at 7 and ending at 11.30 (which can sometimes be preponed to 10, with a little help from friends). It's a great job if you have a busy other-life.

Hi Pradip,

What an interesting anecdote. Sleeping away and earning money at the same time, who knows how many HIT films owe their ticket sales to such deals?

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Enjoyed reading your blog. You write so well,

Anil P said...

Yes, long live the movies, and long live the movie makers.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Vivek,

Thanks and the admiration is mutual.

Hi Anil,

True. Bollywood is right up there with "roti, kapda and makaan' as one of life's necessities.

Sucharita Sarkar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Vivek,

Thanks and the admiration is mutual.

Hi Anil,

True. Bollywood is right up there with "roti, kapda and makaan' as one of life's necessities.

Piscean Angel said...

hey, I do that too ... watch movies alone ... tho' I usually target
the noon shows. It's really so peaceful that way u said, not
having to be apologetic abt ur choice of movie or not having to hear
about incessant comments abt the over-acting / loud music etc etc. :-)