Why watching movies in a small town is an experience beyond movies?

You can’t have a bad time watching a movie in small town theaters because in every small-town movie, there are two shows — 1. Show you paid for; 2. Free show inside the hall. If its a Ram Gopal Verma movie, most likely “free show” will be funnier!

I miss those days when, like respect, you had to earn your movie. You did not just go for a movie simply because its a Friday and you and your girlfriend have nothing left to talk about! There were rounds that you had to clear:

  • Parents’ Permission, and by parents I mean both parents, just mommy won’t do!
  • Hindi Movie because all English movies have ‘Scenes’. Remember Titanic.
  • Friends that your mother already knows by heart. He should be a ‘he’. She could be ‘cheee’ for your family reputation.
  • Be back in 3 hours, no matter if its a Ashutosh Gowarikar movie.
  • Preferably, take your sister along because Raksha-Bandhan!

Basically, it ensured that the effort required to reach the movie hall is always greater than and NOT equal to the possible fun you can have.

After sleepless nights dreaming about the respective stars of the upcoming movie, you wake up with such enthusiasm as if its your own “Red Carpet” launch. Last time somebody woke up with such eagerness, it was N.D.Tiwari’s wedding day. In case you are wondering who was so eager, it was N.D.Tiwari himself for being alive for his third “first night!”

Day arrives, You charan-sparsh your parents for behaving like your parents, taste dahi(Yogurt), call up theater to confirm if the show is still on (Yes, that happens!), and leave the house with your friend on a scooty which says “Catch me if you can”.

You lose half of your middle-class swag (which is tight jeans & collar t-shirt) as you enter the hall, and see five white-color chairs placed right in front of your seat blocking your view. You take the next obvious step of accepting the situation as destiny and sit peacefully.

Apparently, they are placed for local MP fat son and his chivalrous friends. They couldn’t fathom the thought of booking a ticket, and watching a movie like how all the towns’ Dalits are watching. After all, what’s the benefit of gaining power if your son cannot showcase it to the very people you got power from!

Eventually, both shows begin. First movement on-screen is often accompanied by a whistle competition off-screen. Usually, two groups of human-looking creatures will act responsibly, and take the onus of making the “Free show inside the hall” a success.

Their primary agenda is to out-wit the script writer of the movie, and secondary agenda is to ensure that we necessarily, irrespective of consent, experience their rare comic talent. Just to cite an instance in the middle of a movie ‘Agneepath’:

Movie-Scene: *Phone Ringing, Sanjay Dutt Approaching*

Smart-Ass: *Head on his feat with his Comment*

Movie Scene: *Sanjay Dutt Picks Up the Phone*

Before he could say a word


Theater immediately bursts into laughter, movie is ignored for the next 10 mins, our smart-ass is the new protagonist attracting everybody’s attention, his friends pat on his back for being the real star of the movie. I suspect he also updates his FB status:

Just made 500 people laugh with one line. WHO’S THE REAL BOSS, hahahahaha!!!!!!

which is eventually liked by a total of 2 people — his group friends sitting next to him!

For the rest of us, we just experienced what would be Woody Allen’s worst nightmare on “How to truly appreciate cinema?”

Honestly, being an Indian seated amidst such drama, you can’t help but begin to relish some of it as you discreetly await the next smart-ass moment.

There can’t possibly be a dull moment in the movie when you have Babu lal from Jharkhand losing his shit during every item-dance sequence. Paper planes, and laser lights repeatedly hit the desired lusty spots on the screen. You have crowd divided into family audience, non-family audience and other humans. If you dare fall asleep, a pop-corn or a shoe-attack from the person behind will awake you.

Unless Hindu-Muslim riots break out especially in movies like ‘Gadar’ and ‘Border’, your friend eventually drops you back home within stipulated time.

That’s when your mom says, – “Chal, Bahut masti ho gayi, ab ek mahine koi movie nahi!” (Enough fun, no more movies for a month!)

At that moment, you don’t really love your mom, but on the brighter side, fond memories of Babu Lal nagin dance are enough to last you a month!

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