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A night at the movies

I watched the new Bond movie the other day. It’s called Skyfall and it was pretty great, because for once, 007 relies on his wits and charm, instead of a watch that turns into an invisible plane with great breasts and X-Ray vision so powerful, it can see through Nitin Gadkari’s financial assets. Skyfall is one of those films that you have to watch in theaters, because no Bond film experience is complete without jaw-dropping action, heart-stopping chase sequences, and one Gujarati man behind you explaining “Jo havve Gems Bond aavse” to his wife, every time things get tense.

I love watching movies in theaters, because the experience has evolved (and because it saves me some download space). Single-screen theaters are being replaced by the multiplex, which comes from the latin word ‘multi’ meaning ‘many’ and ‘plex’ which means ‘everything sounds cooler when it ends in x’. Multiplexes have more screens, so instead of settling for one terrible Akshay Kumar movie, you can now choose between three horrid Akshay Kumar movies, an even worse Jacky Bhagnani one, or a critically-lauded Bengali film about a man having a six-hour long existential crisis about where the ‘a’ went from Ajay Devgn’s last name.

The arrival of the multiplex has changed the Indian moviegoing experience. Time was when if you wanted to buy tickets, you called the theater and asked if they had any, and then took your chances waiting in a long queue, following which you paid Sattaar bhai (who seemed to live in a bush outside the theater) 200 bucks a ticket. This time though, I just booked tickets online, and then waited in an even longer queue to collect them, following which I paid the theater 400 bucks a ticket and wondered when they made Sattaar bhai general manager.

Following this I made my way to the ‘Candy bar’, a snack-stand that does not in fact sell any candy. But that’s okay, because unlike earlier, when all you got was six-day-old popcorn and a bottle of cola whose mouth looked like it had sex with a rusted iron rod, you now have a whole range of options. I know this for a fact because the guy standing in front of me spent a reasonable amount of time choosing from his. He couldn’t tell whether he wanted the cheese-salted-caramel popcorn, or the caramel-salted-cheese popcorn, but two days later he made up his mind and bought a samosa instead.

But then I sat down in that theater, and waited for the movie to begin, so I could forget all my troubles. But first, we were warned that we must turn our cellphones off before the film, a warning that was obeyed by everyone but the guy sitting next to me. Then, we were warned that we must also not talk during the film. The warning at our theater said that one must refrain from “talking generally”. Luckily, the guy sitting next to me obeyed that bit of advice. So he turned to his friend and only talked specifically about this queer rash he had in an odd place.

And then the lights went down and I got excited and settled into my seat, only to be told that I must now stand for the national anthem. Now I love our national anthem, but this idea of playing it before every single film to boost patriotism is roughly as sensible as a Kingfisher Airlines business decision.

Because this is what happens in everyone’s head as the anthem ends; “I love India. This is such a beautiful anthem. I really should be more patriotic and pay attention to this great counOOOHHH LOOK IT’S JAMES BOND SLAPPING SOME BADDIE ON TOP OF A REALLY FAST TRAIN”

But Skyfall really is an excellent film, and for all the hoop-jumping theaters make you do, I’d recommend that you watch it in theaters. It has the best plot a Bond film has had in years; Bond goes to SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH where he fights a CIGARETTES KILL and then he meets this beautiful CANCER CANCER DEATH CANCER, and in the end it is revealed that SMOKING CAUSES AIDS IN KITTENS SO DON’T SMOKE.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi

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