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Those were the days

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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The advent of Multiplexes has given a new meaning to the film viewing in the country and the tales of it being talked about by those who otherwise live in mofussil towns, but had an opportunity to view the same when visiting a metro city, salivate at the expectations of those who are yet to experience the same. They always hanker for the same feeling, but owing to non-availability of the option continue to aspire for it.

But is there a flip side to it? Do we remember the good old days of movie viewing when tickets were to be bought for the first day of the show for which one used to fall in line since the morning to have a ticket? The palpable excitement of being one of the first to hold the ticket as a trophy in the hand is now gone. The tickets can be bought online, home delivered. But can it compensate for the excitement and the fight to shove the hand inside the opening in a wall, which was called a ticket window. Now the ticketing counter is a fašade illuminated and brightly lit. But in earlier times, one never saw the face of the ticket booking clerk. Only one hand could go inside the hole, and two or three hands would be struggling to get in and would not let the hand that has gone inside the whole to come out. There were also beatings with the stems of banana, which apart from causing grave muscular injury also stained and spoiled the clothes. But these clothes were coveted as a trophy in remembrance of the movie that was seen on the first day.

Now the films are viewed in a disciplined manner and even the laughter that is evoked is much sanitized. The pithy comments of first class are gone, as now there is hardly a first class so to say, as those who do not get the ticket are ready to even view the movie in the first class. Where is the excitement of whole screen being lit by additional bulbs when a hit song is played, or the throwing of the coins on the screen, as these were the symbols, which announced the arrival of a star? This is what made Madhuri Dixit a dancing star, or an Amitabh Bachchan an angry young man. Can an audience sitting in the first few rows in the present times offer the instantaneous comments reacting to a situation in the present times, as it was done just few years ago.

The fun of sitting anywhere where one found the seat, and to shift subsequently to a different seat by the ushers, is a thing of the past, which is a memory that gives pleasure. There was a fun in buying the tickets in black and many a famous characters in Hindi films have played the role of ticket black marketer, but they have now become extinct. With such exorbitant rate of tickets, where is the seed capital for the ticket black marketer to buy the ticket to make a profit. Right from the AWAARA days, ticket black marketer used to have some footage or the other in the film, but it is not to be seen at all in movies of the present times as a character. When one used to buy ticket in black there was no possibility of sitting together and then the fun of seat adjustments was also a part of the growing up process.

Processes of history of movie viewing have been forgotten but they form an integral part of the ethos of movie viewing as it unfolded in India and they need to be kept alive in memories. This is so as they are minor traditions and they had a significant role whose documentation is a must, because for the present generation it is a sanitized kind of an experience without any element of surprise.

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