Remember simpler times, before the world around us hadn’t changed? Watching movies in a theatre used to be such a fun activity.
Ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the first industries to come to a screeching halt is the entertainment industry. One of the first tangible proof that people were acknowledging something was wrong, was when theatrical run of films like Angrezi Medium, Baaghi 3 and Thappad was cut short.
Now, industry experts are talking about the time when theatres can be safely reopened. Some reports mentioned that the exhibitors are planning to maintain social distancing by charging for two seats instead of one. There are talks of halls being sanitized and masks to be made compulsory.
Now, many producers are going direct to OTTs, but that won’t be anything closer to the idea of watching a thrilling movie on the huge screen with dolby surround sound in the dark, with 200 people screaming with happiness.
As a film buff, I cannot help but think about some of my favorite memories in life stemming from me watching a good film in the cinema hall. Me laughing heartily when Bhaskor Banerjee in Shoojit Sircar's Piku sends his daughter a message about his poop at her work. I also sobbed inconsolably at his death.
I remember the adrenaline rush when Sriram Raghavan introduced one crazy plot twist after another in Andhadhun, and how watching Ayushmann Khurrana felt like an absolute privilege.
I felt like I was star-gazing when I watched Parineeta with my family. I was quite young but I would never forget how I felt when Vidya Balan lip-synced to Piyu Bole. Right at that moment, she became my favourite.
Of course, Ayushmann’s next Gulabo Sitabo and Vidya’s Shakuntala Devi will be available on my phone now. I can watch them whenever I want, but I can also take as many breaks I want. I'd also miss the thrill of almost missing tickets on a busy day, stumbling in the darkness to find your seat because you are late and the ads have already started, waiting in line for way too expensive popcorn, and running back after the interval to find you're either too early or you've missed 5 minutes of the film.
Because the thing about cinema halls or movie theatres is that they accept you for who you are. Once the lights go off and the pictures bounce off the screen, it is you and the privacy to feel all the emotions. You can laugh till your stomach hurts, you can cry for an hour straight because you've been sad for a while and needed an outlet.
A movie theatre was always there for us to express our never ending, wide-eyed gratitude for the wonder of the world called cinema, but will it ever come back in the form we knew it?
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