Saturday, March 18, 2006

Its finally happening

India is finally catching up with Amrikaa. And before all you nationalists start boycotting my blog for this blasphemous statement, et me clarify. It happened somewhat like this. Sometime last year, the Adlabs company decided to adopt the C-grade theatre of Huma outside the Kanjur Marg station in Mumbai. Now Huma's claim to fame till then was that it was a theatre for the masses. It was the place where auto-drivers and taxi-wallahs used to throng, to spit paan on the walls and relax on the crumbling chairs. The place of the ubiquitous "morning show".

Now Adlabs literally took the hall apart and replaced it with a shiny 4-screen multiplex. So far so good. Apparently they wanted to cater to the crowd from the nearby suburbs of Vikhroli, Hiranandani and the spill-over crowd from the various malls at Mulund. Not to mention the thousands of students from the nearby IIT.

Now I like to waste 150 bucks or so on a mediocre movie now and then whenever I find time, so I am a regular visitor at Huma. But for some reason, I have never found the halls sold out or even 3/4th full at any screening. Not even a weekend night. Apart from "why am I still single?", the mystery of an empty Huma has kept me awake on many nights.

Well, tonight's experience was so mindblowing that I had to waste 20 minutes describing it you and in turn waste your time too. I had gone there to watch some random movie, and saw that there was a decent queue (>2 people). So I thought that finally I would not have to face my fear of "large empty spaces". After buying the tickets, I got a first warning sign when the usher asked me twice if I wanted to go to Screen 1. Really? Let me see your ticket. He opened the doors (we were the first of the audience) and Vikram and I were the only ones in the empty hall, standing in deference to the anthem being played. After some nervous foot-tapping, we were joined by a young couple, who were making a movie on their own on the backseat.

There it was. Four people in a hall meant to seat 200. On a Friday night. In Mumbai. And I have had movie experiences like these only in the US. Hence the title of the post.

By the way, all four of us left in the interval because the movie sucked bigtime. I wonder if they kept playing the movie in an empty theatre. I wonder how they make any profits with attendances like these. With the huge AC, the housekeeping, electricity bills and everything. Sure they charge exorbitantly, but only, like 10 people, actually buy tickets.

I am sure this will keep me awake tonight.

9 comments:

Tara said...

Hi.. good one.. I can't believe this..I don't remember even once in India that I watched a movie with less than half capacity audience.... Wow!! How things have changed... empty theatre are regular features in the US.. but on fridays at least its pretty crowded..
Dunno wether this trend is good or bad..

Asterix said...

Yeah even I feel that I am cheating the society by not watching a multiplex movie with atleast 10 other people.

shan said...

Though it was close to my place, I went to huma only once and at that time it was having a power outage.
Cinemagic and R-Mall were more often visited.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this will help your conscience. Next time you visit Huma, flash your IIT ID-card and a cool Rs.50 discount awaits you. Probably you could treat some of us to a movie. We will cheat together :).

-sunny

Asterix said...

@shan: Even during these post-multiplex days, power outage is not uncommon at Huma. We experienced an outage after 2 hours of Salaam namaste. Although that was blessing in disguise ;) as I didnt like the movie at all.

@sunny: I usually buy the 115 bucks "gold" ticket. So you are telling me that I can get it for 65? Although judging by the crap they usually put on display, even that is high.

Tara said...

Guptaji,
Time for another blog!! :-))
Waiting,
Tara

Asterix said...

Lo ji likh di two blog entries...

Kusum Rohra said...

Four people in a hall meant to seat 200. On a Friday night. In Mumbai.

You are one lucky dude, every time I go for a movie on a friday, the tickets are a nightmare, I remember one friday evening from 6 to 8.30 a friend and I raided some 15 theatres around bandra and andheri, and landed up at juhu eating behl :(

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