The multiplex revolution was meant to change the way we watch movies. It definitely has. Catching a movie at a multiplex is nothing less than a trauma today. The chaos begins the moment you decide to book your tickets, especially if you choose the dial-a-ticket service that the multiplexes offer.
One, the phone lines are perennially engaged. Even if you manage to finally get a booking, you have to reach the cinema hall at least an hour early to wade through the crowd at the BO window and get the ticket in time. Then comes the security check that is pure harassment.
Those who think airport security is bad, check out a multiplex close to you: you are not allowed to carry handbags, packets (not even baby food), and yes, you will be frisked. If you survive, you get to watch your film.
So much so for convenience! Swati Shah, a IIIrd-year student of SRCC, who went to watch a movie at PVR Saket this Sunday, recalls her experience, “I got my tickets booked through tele-booking after calling about 10 times. With the reference number in hand, I stood in the queue for 30 minutes.
After that the guard had problems with the three candies I was carrying. I asked the guards to either keep them, eat them or throw them, they refused.” Is this the movie experience we bargain for, especially when the ticket costs nothing less than Rs 175?
Ajay Bijli, managing director, PVR Cinemas says, “Our phone booking system has been a mess and we are trying to improve it along with our online booking system. Off site ticket kiosks are also in the pipeline. As for security, there is a mandate to be followed. The older properties such as Saket do not have locker rooms, hence it is a problem to keep the customer’s baggage. We are trying to update these halls.”
It is the excess baggage that seems to be the big problem as most cinema halls don’t have a locker system. Amit Sharma, a software engineer and resident of Noida, says, “At the Wave Cinema, they didn’t even allow the baby food inside. We had to keep our bags outside with a panwala for Rs 10 as there was no locker available.”
Though no one from Wave Cinema was available for comment, Kajal Aijaz, CEO and director of DT Cinemas, says, “We have a locker system and haven’t had any complaint on ticket booking. However, we are aware of the parking problem and are trying to address it.”
Tushar Dhingra, chief operating officer, Adlabs Cinemas, says, “We have to follow the security norms. If people can follow the rules at the airports then why not at a cinema hall.”So next time you plan a movie, why don’t you just catch a flight instead?