A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: Mind your movie manners

What are the things that can spoil your movie experience? Sonal Kalra talks about the manners one should show while watching a film
Some movie-watchers decide to leave their manners, rather than their brains, home.
Some movie-watchers decide to leave their manners, rather than their brains, home.
Updated on Dec 14, 2019 03:45 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

I am very stressed today. Very. And I know that when I am gonna talk about my stress, you’ll say, ‘Oh, how frivolous in comparison to the serious tensions in life’. Well, you may say so, but let that not stop me from focussing on minor irritations and annoyances that can actually become rather stressful at times. My current state of mind stems from a horrible experience at the movies last night. Horrible not just because the movie was spectacularly dim-witted, but because some of my fellow movie-watchers had decided to leave their manners, rather than their brains (as it is so fashionable to say these days), home. It was as if a gang of manner-criminals had gathered for an annual convention, which they decided to hold at a cinema hall while the movie was on.

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I had even written about the ultimate movie spoilers in an earlier piece, and all that horror came rushing back to me. Sample this: my evening started with the trained ‘confiscators’ (read security guard) telling my friend that she could not carry her cigarettes and lighter inside the hall. Well, fair enough, so we gifted him the pack of cigarettes considering she could not puff the whole pack before the movie started. Then he insisted that she give away the lighter too. Maybe he thought we might just decide to pass time by burning the hair of the woman sitting in the row ahead of us with the lighter in case the movie turns out to be boring. Anyway, she sadly parted with the lighter and we grumbled our way inside the hall, only to find someone else sitting pretty in our seat. Now these are people with a compulsive disorder ... that of being perpetually dissatisfied with the seats they’ve got. So they decide to occupy someone else’s seats until that person comes and asks them to vacate. After the exchange of bewildered looks, arguments and usher’s intervention, they decided to move ... and with them went the crucial beginning of the movie.

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Just when the bitter memories of the seat hoppers began to fade, in came a gang of toe-crushers. This breed arrives late, and always has this amazing luck to have the middle seats in the row. So while this fashionista with stylish stilettoes confidently treaded towards her seat, she mercilessly stepped on my toes. While I winced in pain, she had already moved forward, now inflicting injury on my neighbour who, by the way, had courage to demand an apology before everyone around him hushed him down. Suddenly, a gurgling scream shook me out of my senses. An extremely loving parent, who couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her little one at home for two hours had unleashed this angel on my head, who started throwing popcorn at me while screaming for sound effect at the same time. Lovingly giving him glaring looks, I sunk into my chair feeling guilt pangs that I had turned into this child-hating monster, when the last straw struck. Tell me something, if the confiscators so efficiently take away stuff you could eat, light, throw or explode, why the hell can’t they take away, temporarily, that annoying gadget you speak into. The cellphone maniacs had arrived, and how. There were three of them whose phones rang simultaneously ... one even had Saare Jahan Se Achcha as the ringtone ... and guess what, they all decided to take their calls ...right there. I don’t think I can go on telling you how the rest of my movie went. Just know that I am stressed. Very stressed.

Sonal Kalra is going to start a campaign to demand that the technique to put cellphones on silent mode be made compulsory at the primary education level. All those who agree, say trin-trin. Mail her at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com and facebook.com/sonalkalra13. Follow on Twitter@sonalkalra.


    Sonal Kalra edits the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplements, HT City/Cafe; writes the weekly column ‘A Calmer You’

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