Thursday, February 22, 2007

Can you please not shake the hall?

It is not often that I go out for movies with my friends.

And yesterday reminded me why.

After a hard day at work ( well...), we felt we deserved a little recreational entertainment. So a bunch of us decided to go for the movie 'Eklavya'.

The movie goers, in no particular order of insanity:

- Harman: Long haired girl from Chandigarh. Bubbles over continuously with unnecessary enthusiasm. Architect of the movie plan.
- Vani: Strange Indian Girl referred to in earlier posts. Possessor of most clear and penetrating voice in the world.
- Atul: Harassed, mild mannered young man. Always surrounded by powerful women and girl trainees.
- Ruchika: Girl trainee of Atul. In terms of whiny-voice-quotient, beats even Vani.
- My husband: Yet another hapless victim who got pulled along.
- Me: The heroine of the story and all-round good-gal - because I get to write it.

So off we went - Vani, my husband and I went ahead to buy the tickets, and the remaining three promised to follow in ten minutes - which stretched to twenty and caused us to miss many trailers.

Vani and I, offended, bombarded Atul with phone calls and abusive SMS's continuously.

Unbeknownst ( I love that word!) to us, Atul had been accosted, while leaving, by the Head of Sales, and was getting screamed at (What you need to understand about Atul is that it's not just the women that harass him).

Sales Head: Atul! What's happening? Sales are down, shares are down, why is this happening? What's going on? What are you doing about it? I need an immediate review of performance across categories, as well as the correction plans for the next three months. This is apalling performance and I am just not seeing enough accountability amongst the individuals in this system. Well?

Atul (desperately trying to hide buzzing phone behind his back): Uhhh...Boss! I'll talk to you tomorrow, I have to go for a movie now.

Somehow, they made it to the hall after the movie had started. And that's when the real fun began.

I was absorbed in the storyline and wondering how Amitabh can still run up stairs so fast at his age, when the other three landed up, disturbing as many people as humanly possible. They then insisted on saying Hi to each of us individually and demanded to be filled in on the story so far.

Vani obliged penetratingly, getting most of the facts wrong and leaving out the crux of the story. I gritted my teeth and kept watching.

We discovered that the new entity Ruchika, (Atul's trainee) was a talkative young woman who in fact, looked upon this little outing as a chance to socialize rather than merely paying attention to a screen. Every two minutes, there would be a comment from her in a whiny voice, which Vani would happily respond to and take to a full length conversation.

Ruchika was then admonished by the women in the seats in front of us - 'Can you please not shake your legs, my seat is shaking'. Ruchika was naturally aghast at this unfair accusation and retorted 'But the entire hall is shaking. I am not shaking the hall' and then proceeded to loudly protest her innocence every few minutes, and Vani staunchly supported her 'Of course, you were not shaking your legs - the whole hall is shaking. My seat is also shaking'. What Vani didn't realise was that at least her shaking seat was due to my sitting next to her with hands quivering with the desire to strangle the both of them.

It continued, with every tense and important scene punctuated by giggles ( at the emotional scenes), gasps of surprise (minutes after the relevant scene) and inane comments (evenly spread across scenes) from my female companions. At the interval, I cooled off in a corner with a Mangola and was restored to blissful hope that the second half would be better.

This hope was ruined around five minutes after the second half began. I was nervously sipping my drink and watching Amitabh's splendid display of distraught anger as the most key revelation of the movie was made. But the excitement of this scene seemed to make Harman, sitting at the very furthest end of the chain from me, thirsty - because she suddenly shouted in a moment of dead silence 'Hey! Thoda Mangola baccha hai kya?'. I heard her and tried to ignore it and concentrate on the scene, but this was rendered impossible by the fact that this question was then repeated equally loudly by Ruchika, and then by Vani, who turned to face me inquiringly, almost accusingly. I thrust the blasted drink into her hand, and it was passed along to thirsty Harman, who slurped it noisily, shouted 'Thanks'. The bottle ( now left with two drops in it) was then passed back along the group, accompanied by two loudly whispered explanations of 'Mangola'.

The scene was over. I sighed and settled back to more of the same. The second half was as disastrous as the first. A good movie had been ruined. And then we went home.

This experience has placed me in bit of a thoughtful dilemma. I have often gone for movies when other people have been insensitive, loud and brash. In typical style, I have never had a problem with indignantly and righteously telling them where to go. But it's never actually been my own friends who I have wanted to murder.

So perhaps I am taking movie-watching too literally as 'watching the movie'. Maybe it's not about that. Maybe it's about obtaining the DVD first, watching it alone in the peace and quiet of your own home, and then proceeding to the hall in order to loudly exclaim important dialogues a split second before the actors, or chat with your friends, and generally make a nuisance of yourself.

Yes, maybe it's time for me to adjust to a new way of experiencing movies in the hall. In the meantime, the idiot box has begun to look pretty attractive again. So it may be quite a while before I go for the next movie. But probably even longer before I drink a Mangola again.


  1. "The bottle ( now left with two drops in it) was then passed back along the group, accompanied by two loudly whispered explanations of 'Mangola'" - my favorite line. I could picture the whole thing.

    And the 'in no particular order of insanity' bit was truly brilliant.

  2. Hehee.. thats a funny post! You come up with brilliant stuff post after post! Yes I so agree thats its irritating to go watch movies with loud whisperers.. but then I am as much guilty of this sometiems as others.. sometimes I love ruining the moment with a sarci one-liner inbetween, ESP if its an SRK movie! But yeah, its annoying.. :-)

  3. my dear duh duh ... i like the way you pretend that you are polite and cultured like the queen. but i am almost certain that you're not the queen:
    - the queen prefers to watch movies on DVD
    - the queen doesn't consume mangola is such large quantities
    - i doubt very much that the queen writes nasty blogs about the people she watches movies with.

    so basically ... YOU ARE NOT THE QUEEN ... or at least i don't think so.

    bye bye!

  4. Four words, Ganju, four words:

    We Are Not Amused.

    Let's make that six..

    Sod Off!

  5. Loved the way you told the story. You sure are one hell of a ranconteur!!
    I feel for you...For good movies, I hate the punjabi style picnic setting:) (no offence to punjabi community - am one).
    So I either watch at home or go with the right crowd!!

    PS: Pardon my ignorance...but what the hell is "Mangola"?


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