Friday, May 20, 2011

From Ashoka to PVR and to Regal

I remember going to Ashoka Talkies, some 10-12 years back, with my family to see a film. I don’t remember the first movie on the big screen that I saw, but yes, I remember my parents telling me that in one of my maiden cinema hall visits, I had been surprised to see such a big TV! And till some years back (I think I was in Class 5 or 6 then) I actually used to believe that it was a ‘big tv’ where we saw the film! Haha…

I remember seeing some good hindi movies at Ashoka, the only good cinema hall in the whole of my hometown, including Hum Saath Saath Hain, Kal Ho Na Ho, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and Krrish. Some years back, a TV commercial of Sprite showed a guy holding a bottle of Sprite in front of the projection window in a movie hall and the Sprite bottle was projected on to the screen where a song was in progress. The next time I went to the movie hall, I was looking for the projection hole and was actually wondering if I could repeat the Sprite ad here. Haha…it would be fun! It was not a ‘Big TV’ after all!! ;)

Going to a multiplex to watch a movie was something that I got to know just a few years back and experienced for the first time only after I came to Delhi in 2008. The Dark Knight was my first PVR experience in August 2008 at PVR Saket. Well, more than the movie, I was interested in seeing the interior of a multiplex. I was excited for the PVR experience. And seriously, although there was not much difference, I loved the experience. The hall was smaller than that at Ashoka, more than one hall was present in one building, the seats were red and not black, were surely more comfortable, their was air-conditioning instead of huge fans and yes, the interval meant nachos, flavoured popcorn and coke. One big difference was in the price of the tickets. From Rs 10 at Ashoka to at least a 100 bucks at PVR!

Over the last 3 years I have been to the PVR a few more times. I went to the PVR at Ambience Mall in May 2009, on a hostel-trip to watch Monsters vs Aliens (At the age of 17-18, watching a cartoon movie like that- well, we didn’t let anyone know about it in school. Mazaak bann jata humara!) Next was (on the recommendation of a good friend of mine by the name of ‘S.Yogesh’) The Last Airbender in July 2010 at PVR Priya (Priya was a one-hall cinema before PVR went in collaboration with it to make it PVR Priya. It still has just one hall though!). Had it not been for the 3D experience, Yogesh would have been killed by Dhruv and me that day! Haha… And then, the best one was in November 2010, when I went with Yogesh to PVR Saket to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

In the Prohibited Area at Regal
The experiences at PVR have been great but the one experience I had ten days back, was the best and the most memorable one! I was with some of my friends from college in CP, whiling away our time. We planned (out-of-nowhere) to go and watch a movie at Regal. JustDial informed us about the prices and the timings and hearing that the tickets ranged from Rs 40 to Rs 120, we were sure that we were being fooled. Where in Delhi do you get to see a latest bollywood flick in as low a price as Rs 40? This was just 33% of the minimum price of tickets at PVR! How is it possible? Having read a recent article in Hindustan Times ‘100 years of New Delhi’ coverage, I knew Regal was built in the 1930s to cater to the needs of the elite of Delhi and had been a highly prestigious and luxurious theatre then. ‘Has the luxury all been lost?’ I wondered.

We went to Regal to confirm and yes, JustDial was correct. The one-hall theatre was screening Chalo Dilli this week. We decided to get tickets for the next show which was to begin at 6.30. The two-hour wait ended soon and the five of us entered into one of India’s most well preserved 1930s ka cinema talkie.

HT described the present state of the four theatres of New Delhi of 1930s with these lines-
The old quartet is still there, of course, but not entirely in their former glory. Plaza and Rivoli are in a joint venture with multiplex giant PVR Cinemas. Odeon, after a couple of makeovers, has now joined hands with Reliance Big Cinemas. After years of struggle for survival, they are now trying to turn things around. Only Regal hasn’t gone corporate, yet. It still has the giant hall, the framed pictures of celebrity guests and some posters of its old blockbusters. 
The description of Regal was true to what HT said. We had got ourselves seats in the balcony (a facility which PVR fails to provide) and with around 15 people in total in the 600 seater hall, we had a good time to enjoy. We did take the chance to enter the ‘Prohibited area’ of the cinema by entering the projection room. In this digital age, seeing a movie being played from the film-reel is surely something worth not-missing and when you are a media student and are actually studying how all this works, well, a practical exposure is always welcome. :)

The light humoured comedy movie did bring tears to the eyes in one of its last scenes, but when we moved out of the hall, we didn’t want to forget this single hall cinema experience in the national capital and clicking pictures as a climax, was the best we could do to keep our smiles dated forever at Regal! :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Some realizations come late...

This entry is not going to be long because I don’t intend it to be. I will keep it simple and direct. Probably this is very childish but this is what I felt. And I seriously do not know why I am sharing this with you.

Today evening I was not having any work and was sitting idle at home, so my grandfather asked me to accompany him to the Chhatarpur temples. I went with him. He was concerned about my deteriorating health condition. He said I was growing weak. The charm that used to be in me, is lost, which is something unusual at this age. While in the auto, he told me that if I was facing any kind of problem or stress in college or with friends or anything, I should just tell everything to God there and all my problems would be solved at the speed of light. I was thinking of saying so many things to God. We reached the temple and attended the evening aarti. We sat there for almost 15-20 minutes. But somehow at that moment I just didn’t feel like saying anything to God. I thought aapko to sab kuch pata hai, aap sab kuch dekh rahe ho, to saayad jo bhi ho raha hai kisi ache reason se hi ho raha hoga. Saayad wo reason mujhe abhi nahi dikh raha hai, but baad mein mai realize karunga ki jo bhi hua, acha hi hua…

I don’t know what happened to me at that time, why I thought like this. I don’t even believe in going to temples and praying, but today I went. Probably I needed a break from daily monotonous boring routine. And yes, I am feeling much better after this unexpected encounter with the Almighty.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fight for the Right- Won!

“That’s a Ladies seat. Ask the man to get up and you take the seat”, I told my friend when we entered the Metro last Saturday afternoon. She replied, “We already have a whole coach reserved for us, I do not want to dominate another seat in the general compartment as well”. Aware of the fact that I was talking to a firm lady who was not liable to change her decision, I dropped the topic without insisting.

With the reservation of seats for women becoming a reality in the parliament and the harassment cases of ladies increasing in the trains, the DMRC thought it wise to implement the reservation in the Metro trains as well. And so, starting from the second of October 2010, the first coach of each Delhi Metro train got reserved for ladies.

Travelling on the roof of the metro attracts ‘a fine of Rs 50 and free removal from the train’. Whereas, an entry into the women’s coach attracts a fine five times in amount and free beating from any agitated women around. Haha…that sounds funny! But a few men, who made the high level mistake of entering the women’s coach in one of the trains on the Yellow line towards Gurgaon, actually faced this situation. A friend, who happened to be at the spot of the incident, captured a video of the humiliated men and uploaded it on facebook. And yes, she got many ‘likes’ on it!

On the day before the much talked about Commonwealth Games started, I happened to be at the Rajiv Chowk station. I had to go towards Dwarka and while moving from the yellow line to the blue line, I saw an almost empty coach in a train about to move towards my destination. Yes, I was surprised and increased my pace of walking towards the ‘empty’ coach. Little did I know that soon I was going to be stopped by a lady police officer with the words ‘Ye ladies coach hai’ and instructions to follow the right the direction. The pink markings were not to be followed!!

On entering any metro station we are greeted with the words ‘The first coach on every train is reserved for ladies only’. Yes, this is a necessary reminder every time both for the men and the women. For the men, so that they remember not to venture into these ‘forbidden areas’ and for the women, so that they enjoy a place of pride made specially and exclusively for them.

With the increase in the number of coaches in the metro trains from four to six, rumours (thankfully, they were just that!) had it that the number of ladies coaches should be increased from one to two, keeping in mind the increasing demand for those! If that happens, I wonder if Mr Sreedharan would like to take another ride in the metro to his home in Gurgaon, because he would just have two-thirds of the metro train for himself and his fellow male-passengers. Probably he would like to send his wife on a metro trip- at least she, a woman, would surely get a seat for herself! Hehe…

P.S.: I know it’s been some time now- a full month almost- since I made my last blog entry. Over the past few days, I actually realized the importance of my writing in many of yours’ life. So many of you have complained because of unavailability of new posts here. Thank you so much everyone for making me feel important. I shall try my best to keep updating this blog as often as I can. :)
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