The Original Talkies
It’s the age of the mighty multiplex. The experience of watching a film in one them is great. Have you ever wondered what happened to the good old ‘cinema’? The quintessential ‘theatre’ in every one of those typical small towns that are the actual pulse of our country? The place where the whole family went to and booked a box and watched a film together? What a fun outing it used to be. It was a truly rainbowed childhood. Where our films were larger than life and the heroes even bigger. A time when the family planned a movie outing together. And what a picnic that was.
This was the theater where films ran to ‘house full’ shows. Where a hit film meant that all four shows of the day were ‘house full’ for an incredible consecutive two to three weeks. Where a film ran for six, may be eight weeks on an average. This is where the seetis and thunderous clapping resounded. And yes this is the place where the touts had a field day selling tickets in black….remember Aamir Khan in Rangeela?
Except things are totally different today. It’s sad but true that the humble single screen round-the-corner-cinema is dying a slow death. Not all of them of course but the older ones are – the ones that were the pioneers of film exhibitions. (As they were artfully called then). The original ‘Talkies’ are singing their swan song.
With the crowds rushing to glitzy multiplexes, it’s a hard job keeping their heads above water. The upkeep required is enormous and with no real income coming their way, (the crowds that these cinemas attract now are hardly crowds in the first place; rickshaw walas and street vendors). How much can you sell them a ticket for? So for the old cinema owners it’s a tough call. The running costs are way too high. These are third, fourth generation cinema owners who are running them on one factor alone. Nostalgia.
It’s evident really that it’s only a matter of time before the last remaining ones too become relics of the past. So unless the powers that be step in with some new grants and policies and try to salvage what is left, the curtains will surely come down on the golden era of the silver screen.