Today the folks at CuttingCoffee posted an article about the Best Movie Theatres in India that You Must Visit in India at Least Once. I had not heard of most of them though I’d been to many of the cities. I actually had only heard of the Raj Mandir cinema and it was actually in my plans when I was in Jaipur. Sadly I lost almost one full day to train delays and another full day to recuperating from being ill and didn’t have time. I will definitely have to go back and check it out – and maybe a few of the others on the list when I hopefully return next year.
But just because I didn’t make it to those theatres doesn’t mean I missed out on seeing a movie while I was there. Where those theatres were super modern high end temples to film, I ended up going to something more old school.
The Edward Cinema is one of the oldest in Mumbai, having opened in 1914. Many of the old details still remain including balconies on three sides and a big stage. (Before its use as a cinema it was used for plays.)
I took an Uber down from my Airbnb, only to find the box office hadn’t yet opened. A few folks were already gathering for the film. Finally the box office opened and I paid my 30 rs – about $0.60 Canadian for the best seats in the house – cheaper seats were available if needed but at that price who could argue.
Once I got my tickets I joined everyone waiting outside the theatre to be allowed in. There was now quite a crowd, but then, Amitabh Bachchan would be in today’s film so the crowd was not entirely unexpected.
The film started with the national anthem. We all stood up for that – and then it was time for the movie proper. Uh-oh. No subtitles. However, I’d been practicing almost 4 weeks now so my Hindi had improved a bit. The audio was a bit echoey with all of the concrete in the building so sometimes I couldn’t hear the words themselves let alone translate them. Still, I concentrated hard and muddled through.
At the interval I met a man outside the door. We talked a bit about where I’d come from and how my Hindi was and of course where I’d learned it. Then he asked if I was following the film. “I think so…mostly.” Then he went on to fill in the blanks. I’d actually followed the basic plot points which I was pleased with. Later I would realize that some of the details he had provided had not yet happened. He gave me a bit of a preview of the next half. This was actually a good thing as it made it much easier to follow.
The film was excellent though I have to say, I’m still at the stage where a 2+ hour film without subtitles is hard work. By the end of it my brain was completely fried.
As for the movie I saw? It was Pink. What I understood of it was excellent as it was challenging some of the common notions about consent and rape and presents a great message of “No means no no matter what.” Something I can’t believe we are still having to teach men all around the world. On the other hand, I’m thrilled that we are, at least, talking about it. For a long time I had no idea the extent of harassment and assault as nobody I knew talked about it and certainly none of the men I knew admitted to it. For me it is certainly not an option and so my perception was that this was really rare and there were only a tiny number of really creepy men who did it. As we’re seeing in recent years, this is not the case. I’m really sad that it’s so widespread but I feel like the more we talk about it the better chance we have of recognizing how widespread the problem is and actually doing something about it. And the bulk of the doing has to be done by men – calling others on it, setting higher standards, and raising their sons better. So this film was an excellent way to get this message to a wide audience and have it delivered by someone widely respected. I suspect most of the Hindi speakers I know are familiar with the movie so I’m disappointed I was unable to find a trailer with English subtitles for my English speaking friends. The Hindi trailer is here. I can say that most of the DVDs you’ll find in North America will have English subtitles so if you see it available, I highly recommend grabbing a copy. It’s a good film.
At the end of the film I left in a bit of a daze – both from the excellent film and the hard work of comprehending it. It had been a good outing.
By the way – for those of you who are curious, there’s a quick video tour of the cinema here: