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'Timepass' in the toilet

My favourite place in a multiplex theatre is the men’s toilet. No no, it’s not what you think. I take great pleasure in visiting this sanctum santorum especially during the interval of a film. Obviously it is the one time that many bladders from adjacent ‘screens’ congregate to unburden. But it is also a moment when a man reflects on one of life’s deepest existential questions — did he buy tickets for the right movie. At the booking counter he made that split second choice between bubble gum Bollywood and blood and gore indie cinema. And now in that minute between zip and unzip he makes several vital decisions — Will the ‘slow moving picture’ he’s watching pick up post interval ? If not should he prepone his dinner reservation at China Garden? Or could he brazenly slip unnoticed into the more masala film playing in Screen 3? (Surely his ticket should allow him access to the entire buffet available).

He also asks himself, why he chose to get ‘pakaoed’ watching Haider, when he could have had full ‘paisa vasool’ enjoying Bang Bang?

Why did he allow his daughter, who finds Shahid Kapoor ‘a real hottie’, to coerce him into watching a movie set in Kashmir, sans raunchy item songs with Katrina, solidly complicated Urdu dialogue by Gulzar. And Tabu weeping so much that the film could well have been called ‘Cry-der’. Is this how he wanted to spend his one free Sunday evening? Buying stale popcorn, overpriced tickets and more nachos on his tray than naach gaana on the screen. His daughter was in any case buried in her new smartphone.

He could so easily have been in the adjacent ‘screen’ drooling at the stars in  Bang Bang.

But it’s a copy of Knight and Day, one of his earnest office mates had informed him. Who cares if it was a copy, he wanted to leave his brains at home not get them ‘bheja’ fried.

And it’s not like Haider was some stunning piece of originality. This was a Shakespearean drama (which Vishal Bhardwaj acknowledged) with some sections from The Godfather (which he didn’t acknowledge).

Why is it, he wondered, that Indian directors were just unable to be original? Why was it that every film was either a lift, a re-hash, a copy, an adaptation or a ‘tribute’? Surely there were more dramatic stories in every street corner in India, than Indiana or Illinois.

His neighbour Rakesh, coincidentally was relieving himself in the next cubicle. “Hey boss, kaunsa picture dekh raha hai?”

“Haider”

“Picture kaisi hai?”

“Intense. Fully serious ya. Tu kya dekh raha hai?”

“Arre Bang Bang…total time paas….(voice lowered) aur Katrina….wah.. is she really seeing Ranbir, I love her yaar ?”

That pissed him off further. Rakesh was leching at a sun-bronzed Katrina in Greece, compared to him looking at a top to toe fully-clothed Shraddha Kapoor in Gulmarg. Unfair to say the least.

We all go back to our respective auditoria ‘interval ke baad’.

Who needs movie critics when you have mulitiplex cubicles?

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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