The longest-running movie in history had to make way for the training of election officials for the second time in two weeks yesterday; around 400 people, who had turned up for the 11.30 am show of the SRK-Kajol starrer, had to return disappointed
A training organised by them may have ended the golden run of one of Indian cinema’s biggest blockbusters, but election officials may well turn around and say ‘bade bade deshon mein aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hai’.
The show must not go on: Around 1,200 people from the Mumbadevi Vidhan Sabha constituency were trained on the use of the electronic voting machines from 8 am to noon yesterday.
Fans of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, some of whom had come to Mumbai recently and wanted to re-live the blockbuster on the big screen, had to return disappointed from Maratha Mandir yesterday when the 11.30 am matinee show was suddenly cancelled because the theatre had been taken over for election training for the upcoming state polls.
Let us in! Disappointed fans outside Maratha Mandir yesterday. EC officials with the EVMs
A similar thing had happened on September 24, forcing the show’s cancellation on that day as well. The managing director of the theatre confirmed this, but added that they have no choice but to make the space available when the collector asks for it as that clause is mentioned in their agreement papers.
The polling staff inside the cinema hall. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Released in 1995, DDLJ, which has Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol playing the leads, has had an uninterrupted run at Maratha Mandir for nearly 20 years, or 990 weeks. The theatre, which can seat 1,200 people, reserves the 11.30 am slot for the movie and gets a good response from college-goers and families, with nearly 400 tickets being sold on weekdays and more than 1,000 on holidays.
Yesterday saw the usual nearly 400-strong crowd descend on the Mumbai Central theatre around 11.30 am, only to find a board put up, announcing that the show had been cancelled. The election commission had booked the theatre from 8 am to noon and approximately 1,200 people from the Mumbadevi Vidhan sabha constituency were present in the theatre to undergo a training session on the use of electronic voting machines.
Officer of Mumbadevi constituency, Devidas Chaudhari, said, “We were looking for a hall to conduct the training for our staff and due to lack of suitable space, we had to conduct it in the theatre. Getting to Maratha Mandir is also convenient for the staff as the station is located nearby. This is the second time that we organised the training here.”
'Had no choice'
Speaking to mid-day, Manoj Desai, managing director of Maratha Mandir said, “Yes, we had to cancel the 11.30 am show of DDLJ as the election authorities wanted to use the space for a training camp. Some 1,200 teachers had come and we had no other option but to put up a board outside the theatre to announce the cancellation of the show.”
“Two weeks ago, they had arranged a similar camp and we had to cancel the show then as well. There is a clause in our agreement papers that whenever the collector requests us to allot a space, we have to oblige and make it available for them,” added Desai.
Manoj Pandey, the theatre’s manager said, “We had to cancel the show due to poll training. We had put up a board announcing this.”
— Inputs by Sonali Joshi-Pitale
Shafeek Baig from Bandra, who had gone to watch the movie with his friends said, “I came to Mumbai from my village two months ago and had heard a lot about Maratha Mandir being famous for DDLJ. I finally got a chance to go and watch it yesterday, but the show was cancelled.”
Iqbal Qureshi, a local resident, said, “I usually come here to watch DDLJ as I stay nearby. I have seen the movie nearly 20 times now but still make it a point to come and watch it at Maratha Mandir as tickets are cheap and watching it on the big screen is fun. It was disappointing to see the show being cancelled.”