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Chalo Cinema

By Moses Navgire, IndiaFM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Films, Bollywood, Stars!! That is what we talk about all the time. But in between all the glitz and glamour, stars and the banners, we tend to miss out the place where the actual action happens. The place where an unknown face can become a rage overnight, where an unexpected film can create history. The paradiso of every film maker, the movie theatre.

In a country like India where people are so religious about films, there is a variety of film theatres. Starting from the cozy Multiplexes to the Sleazy cheap halls, there is a variety of theatres one will find in this country. Each place has certain amount of uniqueness attached to it. So, if you are of the type who just likes to watch films at home, read through this article. Because in India, the theatre itself is a place full of experiences and film is an added bonus. So let's go on and take a look at the types of movie theatres in India.


These are the newest kind of movie halls coming up in India on the lines of those in the western countries. Multiplexes are the theatres generally set up inside big shopping malls and obviously, have multiple screens with 5-6 movies playing at the same time giving a variety of options for you to choose from.

Usually people from middle and higher middle classes are seen at these theatres. They shop in malls, grab lunch together and then probably drop in for a movie. So, usually you will find many families and groups of young people coming for movies at multiplexes.

Talking about the interiors, the multiplexes have a decent ambience, decorated with the standees and posters of upcoming films. Everything looks neatly designed and well organized. The ticket windows are made up of big transparent glass panes. The ticket vendors are cute young girls who communicate through a mic and allow you to choose the seat you want from the computer screen. You won't find long queues at the ticket counters here. Besides, there is also a facility of booking tickets through phone or online. As soon as you enter the multiplex, you'll notice the beautiful ambience, the cool soothing air, the walls painted with cool colors, the decorative lightings and above all, the aroma of popcorns. The staff mainly consists of young boys and girls dressed in neat uniforms and well, they mostly speak in English. This place gives you a complete Royale feel.

Multiplexes have a large food-bar loaded with variety of snacks and drinks that cost more than double the market price. But then, the refreshments look so attractive across the counter that you finally fall prey to the temptation and ultimately end up spending a few hundred bucks on munchies and colas which later may not seem worth the price.

The moment you enter movie hall, you'll see a mystic darkness. Glowing in the darkness are blue radium lights on the floor to guide your steps. Generally, every surface inside is velvet coated, the walls, the floor, etc. You can feel the chilled atmosphere and the soft musical score playing in the background. The seats are as big and comfortable as an emperor's throne. The movie starts; you place your cola in the stand on the arm rest, stretch back comfortably and enjoy the movie. The Dolby sounds that gives a 360 degree effect is an added attribute.

The audiences as mentioned before arrive mostly in groups. Especially on weekends you'll find these big Guju families coming for movies with their 28 member family which comprises people of all ages and sizes. They consume 70% of the snacks in the theatre. Apart from them, if there are any kiddie movies playing at any of the screens, then better reschedule your plans. Because the misbehaved kids and their pampering moms can give you a tough time starting from the ticket counter, the elevator, the lobby, the food-bar. Try going for a Harry Potter flick, and notice the mistakes they keep pointing out, spoiling all the fun and their mothers who don't even know who Harry Potter is, take pride in this.

The groups of college students bring in some level energy at these places. And of course there is a fourth set of people, for whom I personally believe that concept of cinema halls was actually created. They are the love birds. You'll find the most hip looking couples in here, giving an impression that probably they just came out from the Levis poster. The girls especially look so hot that you wish if you could rather watch her for the next three hours instead of the stupid movie but her boyfriend's muscles scare you away.

One notable thing in multiplexes is that throughout the movie the audiences remain calm. Whether the movie sucks or is a blockbuster, audiences maintain silence like the British crowds at Lord's stadium. That's sophistication I guess. Quality wise this place is A grade but the audiences can be quite dry.

Ticket rates: Rs 150 to Rs. 300

Multiple screens
Multiple screens theatres actually are primitive multiplexes which are far different from the current malls. These theatres are largely compartmented. The theatre has 4- screens. Each screen is a separate division, a separate theatre in itself, with its own entrance gates, cafeteria etc. A multiple screen theatre is more like an amalgamation of three- four single screen theatres into one building. However, they aren't built in a shopping mall; neither do they have a very sleek ambience.

What made these places unique in the late 80's was the concept of multiple screens which offered the facility to choose the movie one wanted to watch. All flicks released that week and prior, play at the same place. Although, today it might not seem to be a big deal, few years back it was revolutionary. One realizes their importance only when - out of your extremely busy schedule, you manage to get an evening off to catch a good film with your family. You are all excited about the long awaited family outing but on reaching the theatre you learn that either the tickets are sold out at the single screen or the theatre changed the film yesterday to a sleazy sex comedy, which you definitely can't watch with family. The flick you came to watch is now playing at another theatre. The show there is at 6 pm, the theatre is 10 miles and your watch already shows 5:55pm. Scary? Multiple screens therefore, act as a savior in such situations.

Although their facilities aren't 'out of the world', the multiple screens even today manage to pull masses mainly due to their affordable rates. From inside, they are very similar to single screens. So, we'll describe Multiple screens together in the next subgroup, Single screens.

Ticket rates: ranging from Rs. 80 to Rs. 150 (depends upon the movie)

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