Take a bow: Moviegoers empty Parel's Hindmata theatre for 45 cancer-stricken kids

Updated: Jan 15, 2020, 07:30 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

45 kids fighting the Big C landed at Hindmata Cinema hall for a regular show instead of their special show due to a miscommunication

The kids seen at Hindmata theatre in Parel on Monday
The kids seen at Hindmata theatre in Parel on Monday

Parel's Hindmata theatre witnessed a rare generosity of spirit on Monday as moviegoers emptied the auditorium for 45 cancer-stricken kids who had come for a special screening of the movie, Tanhaji. The kids were set to miss the screening over miscommunication between the theatre and the organisers — until the seated patrons chose to rise to the occasion. The goof-up happened as the theatre reserved tickets for a 10.30 am show while the organisers had asked for the 2.30 pm show.

It so happened that the Dream and Happiness Foundation booked 120 tickets for cancer patients, their parents and for volunteers working at the Tata Memorial Hospital. The organisers sought seats for the 2.30 pm show and informed the invitees accordingly. But the theatre reserved seats for the 10.30 am show instead. Organisers realised the goof-up only 30 minutes before the screening was to begin.

Some viewers walking out in order to allow the kids to be seated
Some viewers walking out in order to allow the kids to be seated

As soon as the theatre's managers came to know of the goof-up, they stopped booking tickets. Unfortunately, that was not enough as the show was almost sold out. In the 120-member contingent, there were 45 cancer-stricken kids, their parents and 10 caretakers and volunteers and well-wishers from the NGO.

"We were not able to work out anything even though the theatre was trying to help. The movie was to start in 10 minutes, and the kids were waiting in the lobby. Finally, I left the booking counter and went inside the auditorium with our volunteers at 2.20 pm. I stood in the middle of the hall and explained our predicament to the audience. I asked them if they could come for the next show and offered to buy their tickets," said Dream and Happiness Foundation's chief Dr. Swapna Patker.

Kids and their parents watch the movie at Hindmata theatre
Kids and their parents watch the movie at Hindmata theatre

The hall went silent for a minute and then two youngsters stood up saying they wouldn't mind watching the movie some other time and left the hall. "Many other youngsters followed them and left. Then families went. The patients, the remaining audience, the staff and our volunteers clapped as they chose to skip the movie. The audience also guided the patients in. I was moved to tears. It was an unforgettable experience. Amid all the bad news we hear, this signifies hope," Dr. Patker said.

A representative of the Tata Memorial Hospital said, "I saw the humane side of the audience which gave up on their entertainment for the children. I have no words to express our gratitude. Kids from various parts of the country were so happy to watch the movie."

Unfortunately, mid-day could not trace the large-hearted moviegoers. "It happened so quickly that we too did not get to take the contacts of our kind supporters," Dr Patker said.

One of the kids, Alisha Khan, told mid-day that she was happy to watch the movie in 3D. "It was very good, we enjoyed a lot," she said, adding that the children would have loved to meet the actors. Another kid, Anushka Pawar said she also wanted to see the superstars once in her life. "I liked Ajay, Kajol and Saif's roles so much," she said.

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