It’s like the first romance, the first date, the first moment of sheer rapture. And in no uncertain terms, it defines your cinema life forever. So without munching any more popcorn, then, Rachana Dubey polls showbiz personalities on their pehla pehla movie experience.. and how it’s going today.
First time: I can’t remember the cinema hall.. but the first film I ever saw was Gandhi. I would love going to the Sterling for the Hollywood movies and the Metro for the Hindi ones.
Today: Now I catch movies on DVDs but I do like to drive down with my friends to the Inox because it’s near my house.
First time: I’d accompanied my mom to watch Roman Holiday at the Regal. I remember telling my mother, “Everything is so big here.”
Today: I love going to the good old single screen theatres as well as the multiplexes, munching popcorn, hanging out with friends. I love the reclining seats, I feel I’m at home.
First time: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were my heroes. The first film I ever saw was their Flying Deuces at the Palace Cinema in Allahabad’s Civil Lines.
We weren’t allowed to see many films except for the kiddy stuff like Androcles and the Lion, Robin Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Walt Disney cartoons. I was taken for my first Hindi film, Jagriti, by my parents.
Going to the cinema was a luxury, we couldn’t always afford the four and five anna tickets.
First time: I’d go with my family to Chandan to mostly see dad’s films. I also vividly remember the premiere of Nauker. I had forced my grandmother to come with me because my favourite actress Jaya Bachchan was in it. I saw my first film Barsaat at the Metro.
Today: I love the slick ambience of the multiplexes.
First time: Arnold Schwazernegger’s Terminator 2.
Today: Multiplexes are cool. I know single screen cinemas have a charm of their own but multiplexes are here to stay. It’s difficult if not impossible to compete with the multi-screen boom.
First time: It was Bees Saal Baad at the Lido in Juhu with my grandmother. I must have been two-and-a-half. Even today I can remember the horror scenes. I was so scared I had to be taken out several times in the middle of the movie.
Today: Arrey, the multiplex boom should have been there when Main Hoon Na was released. The collections of my film would have shot up by four times over. Our multiplexes are truly state-of-the-art.
Most of the time, I sleep through films though. And I have the comfort of sleeper seats. They even provide blankets. What more can anyone want? Today, movie watching is so comfortable that I just doze off.
First time: I always went with my parents to the movies.. the closest one was the Gaiety, at walking distance from home. The first time I went out to watch a movie on my own was Roti Kapda aur Makaan.. again at Gaiety. It was the biggest multi-starrer of its time with Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and of course Manoj Kumar.
So, I had to stand in a queue for hours to get a ticket. I could only get a seat in the front row. That didn’t matter at all because I was extremely thrilled with the fact that I was about to watch a movie alone.
Gaiety has changed considerably since then but it’s still a movie hub for me. I’ve watched all kinds of movies there from the time when I was a teenager. In 1982, I saw Dharam Kanta, Prem Rog and Bazaar, all at one go at the Gaiety-Gemini-Glamour complex. Gemini was home to Shyam Bengal’s movies.
Today: Multiplexes are an indicator of the booming film business. It’s one of the reasons why there has been so much investment in multiplex chains.
But the response in a single-screen theatre like the Maratha Mandir — the whistles, the claps and the loud comments on powerful scenes — remains unmatched.
I was overwhelmed by the public response to Traffic Signal at the Gaiety. By contrast, the audience is extremely well-behaved in a multiplex. Their reactions are never over the top.
First time: Betaab was the first film that I saw in a cinema hall in 1982. I was seven years old then. The cinema hall was Apsara which was considered the aan-baan-and-shaan of cinema watching. I went with mum and dad.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, the experience of seeing everything larger than life on a huge screen, the popcorn.. that made me the movie buff I am today.
Today: I watched Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Na at a spacious multiplex. When you watch a movie at Cinemax’s Red Lounge with fresh coffee and popcorn, your day is made.
First time: I must have been five when I went out for my first movie. It was at a single screen hall in Gujarat.. the movie was Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke. I went with mum and dad. I’ve had a huge Aamir Khan crush since then.
Today: I think multiplexes have meant plenty of job opportunities for the youth. And a multiplex is good also for its show timings.. for someone like me who works at all sorts of odd hours.
Yes but, of course, there’s nothing like the single screens.. each has its distinctive characters.. for instance, I can’t imagine the city without its Maratha Mandir, Eros and New Excelsior.
First time: Masoom was the first movie I ever saw in a cinema. It was an open-air army hall in Ranikhet meant only for the defence personnel. I was a little girl then. I sat on my dad’s lap crying whenever I saw little Jugal Hansraj getting
I smiled when all was well. I went home singing Lakdi ki kaathi. It was mild winter then. But I remember I had three bottles of Campa Cola then. It was my favourite cola.
Today: Multiplexes make movie watching extremely comfortable and relaxed. When the audience is relaxed, they are likely to appreciate the movie much more.
First time: It was Five Man Army featuring Bud Spencer.
Today: More multiplexes mean more money and that’s fantastic news for the film trade.
First time: Maine Pyaar Kiya. I went to see it with my aunt in Hyderabad. During those days of single screen cinemas, there would be a small stage in front of the screen. Though I was watching the film, I was also dreaming of walking up the stage someday like a movie star.
Today: In a busy city like Mumbai, the multiplexes are a virtual entertainment zone. Multiplexes and shopping malls have been a double whammy.