I don’t know if anyone else had these feelings about a movie theater. For me, it’s always the same, I love the theatres before the movie and I hate them after the movie regardless of the nature of the movie.
In India most of the theatres open their gates only half an hour before the screening of each show (refer opening scene in the movie ‘Mantrikam’). This is before the onslaught of multiplexes. So people have to wait for the theatres to open their gates, I have done my share of waiting too. Of course, there was reservation but I think normal people liked the anticipation and adventurous nature of obtaining a ticket. I think most of them enjoyed their sheer luck, I did. What happens when they open the gate is a battle of entertainment proportions with flip-flops flying, shirts tearing, hair pulling and shouts of ‘heave’ thrown in at some time. Balconies are expensive so one has to be as fit as an athlete to get into the queue for first class tickets for which there are no reservations. One peculiar nature of first class ticket counters are that in most theaters they are located at the end of a tunnel. So once you enter the tunnel with your fellow ‘shouting at the top of their lung’ queue mates, you are in. Don’t even think about going back. Leaving the queue is considered as cowardice. The sheer joy of coming through the other end of the tunnel victorious with tickets crumbled in my hand with some buttons on my shirt missing always gave me a boost than any energy drinks that most of the children are addicted to these days. Besides the smile and appreciation I see on my friend’s faces were well worth the effort.
It is when the movie (good or bad) is over and when people try to file out from the theater that I experience my deepest love for my home. I am always overcome by a panic to get to my home as fast as I can. I have tried many times to analyze the reason behind this obsession. One strong candidate is that maybe that’s when I realize the artificial and impersonal nature of the theater or else it is because of the selfish nature imprinted in every human being that when the movie is over the theater has nothing more to offer. I have noticed that most people come out of the theater with a blank face. It doesn’t matter if the movie is good or bad. All of them have a blank expression on their face. They don’t even stop to answer politely to a potential moviegoer who probes about the movie. I think all of them want to get back to their home as much as I would like to get to mine.