Monday, November 11, 2013

Monsters of the Matinee


Ms Tee went to watch Thor and came back bubbling like an active Volcano. 

In India, if you’re planning to watch a movie at a cinema theatre, you are requested to leave your sense and sensibilities behind. No, I’m not talking about Krrish3 here- I’m too snobby for Hollywood rip-offs. I’m talking about the esteemed variety of movie goers that treats the theatre as their living hall and believes silence is meant for lambs. Since I am usually the silent one, trying her best not to combust with outrage at the manner-less of the manor born, I prefer turning into the observer surrounded by a halo of thought bubbles. Once you detach yourself from all things worldly, the ground becomes fertile for some Animal Planet-like observations. 

Here I give my list of pathological behaviours seen in movie audiences- 

 
blueprintreview.co.uk



1. The UPPERCASE variety

Their mobiles are like an extra appendage, or a buzzing tumour on their ear. There is the ‘mildly considerate’ type that will whisper into their phones like they are on their honeymoon. The most common strain of this pathology however presents itself as loud, self-important conversations. If cornered, they will shout out expletives and ask loudly if the offender knows who s/he is. Do not try and reason with them by asking them why they’ve even come to a movie hall if they aren’t going to actually watch one. They are stubborn and the only way to deal with them is to find a seat as far away from them as possible. Maybe hide their phone when they go for a bathroom break. Whatever works for you.

2. The Child on a Sugar High

The most common and by far the most annoying, they are the common cold of movie hall pathologies. They are present everywhere. I watched Black Swan accompanied by constant wailing. First, why would you even bring your infant to a movie as psychologically damaging as Black Swan? Second, this is INDIA: The land of domestic help. If you can leave your children in their care for the better part of the year, 2 hours should not be a problem. If you’re lucky, your local annoying child will only take laps of the entire hall. If 13 black cats have crossed your path, you’ll get a screamer. Fingers crossed.

3. The Canoodling Couple


Dark, air-conditioned, comfy: ideal conditions to get your freak on. Just one problem- there are a hundred-something other people in this space with you. I have no objections if you book those two corner seats in the back of the hall. They even call those seats “couple couches” in Odeon BIG Cinemas. However, if you sit in the 5th row, bang in the middle (no pun intended), you are asking to be pelted with popcorn. If you’re a gentleman, you’ll take her someplace nicer. If you’re a lady, you’ll insist he does.


4. The Unfriendly Neighbour

This is a miscellaneous category. There will be the nosy neighbour, who will creepily listen in on your conversations, the neighbour who takes your armrest (sort of like stealing your newspaper, only with more invasion of personal space). There is the one who texts throughout the movie, blinding you each time they take out their mobile phone (*ahem* my mum *ahem*). Feel free to add on.

5. The Navjyot Singh Sidhu + The Clueless Viewer

These two usually come in pairs, but not always. The first feels the need to give constant, completely unnecessary commentary. Aside from futilely attempting to explain plot points, they will comment on attire, appearance, give a detailed family history, insert anecdotes, and make very, very bad jokes (which they will then proceed to laugh at uncontrollably).

The Clueless Viewer has no idea what is going on throughout the film, begging the question of why they came to watch it in the first place. Most commonly seen in audiences of films adapted from books (believe me, I know. I watched all the Harry Potter films).

6. The Out-of-Context/Delayed Reaction

If you haven’t experienced it first-hand, you have most certainly heard it in the pirated copy of that one film you bought from Pallika or some random stall or a torrent website. No no no, don’t try denying it. Picture this- the protagonist has just confessed to the love of her life that she is dying. Tears are glistening in their eyes (and yours too. Don’t deny it, you big baby). Violins are playing in the distance. Suddenly, you hear jackal-like bark-laughter. The moment is broken. You can actually hear it shattering to pieces. A puppy somewhere has just died.

This list is certainly not definitive. We’ve all had unique movie hall experiences. Something about the dark, cavernous space brings out our most primal selves. Maybe it’s because they blur the lines between private and public spaces. A movie is something we enjoy in the comfort of our homes, on our couches, slouched in bed, covered in popcorn debris. To give an example of this affect: have you ever left a movie hall feeling a particular sense of compatriotism for your fellow movie-goers? This is particularly pronounced with a really mind-blowing film. You slowly rise from your seats, stare at each other; not needing words to explain what you feel. It is probably this vagueness of boundaries that may lead to extremely unreasonable behaviour from people who may otherwise be fairly rational (yeah I’m an optimist). Society conditions us to believe that one is expected to follow a certain code of conduct outside our homes. These rules break down in movie halls. With the way technology is progressing, I look forward to the movie halls of the future, and how behaviour changes (if at all). Till then, I will try becoming rich enough to buy a movie hall.


55 comments:

  1. Hilarious Purba Ray. And you missed out on those who come to watch movies in language that they don't understand and are perfectly fine disturbing their neighbor to translate it word by word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Sumeetha. This is a guest post by Trisha Ray :-)

      Delete
  2. Haha... Have seen the cuddling couples and wailing infants. Also, whenever I go to a theater, the tallest man from the Limca Book of Records arrives and sits in front of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's a universal law of stats of some sort. They should make height adjustable seats :/

      Delete
  3. :) You wrote. :)
    And then there are mothers who will fight at the food counter to make sure their kid's dietary requirements are met. :-/
    P.S. Those couches looked comfortable. And I am going to blame you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yessir. I did think about including that, but it didn't quite fit. Another time.
      You need a grief counsellor -_-

      Delete
  4. I am really irked by the child on a sugar high who keeps kicking at the back of my seat. They should run this blog post before the movie begins.
    Nonetheless, the guy who says"Don't you know who I am" will not bother to read. He will be too busy on his phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. A public service announcement along with Shah Rukh Khan telling us to switch off our phones.

      Delete
  5. Given my experiences in a movie theater in recent times, I go to the theaters only to watch those movies which I have to watch in theaters only (take Gravity, for instance). For the rest of the movies, I make my own 'arrangements' and see them in the privacy of my home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will refrain from responding to the 'arrangements' part lest I be called to testify in court.

      Delete
  6. Could fully relate to this. Experienced each one of them. You have missed one more category that is more common in non mutliplexes - the whistlers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whistlers are a type I personally haven't seen. From what my sources tell me, they're usually found during Salman Khan movies.
      We should form a recovery group for aggrieved moviegoers!

      Delete
  7. your daughter is a miniature u. cant say the difference between your writing styles. Thoroughly enjoyed and can relate to almost all categories mentioned here . SIGH ! Infact in Bangalore Indians were laughing and disturbing so much while watching G I Joes ( I mean whats there to laugh in that movie ) that few americans walked out :(
    Not sure when I will becoem rich to buy a movie hall

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep telling her, she has to be brutally honest to get her thoughts across but she's always afraid of hurting someone's sentiments, quite unlike her Mom :-)

      Delete
    2. It's my college. I have been brainwashed with political correctness.

      Delete
  8. I object to this post. I will tie up with association of Bang in the middle seat
    Koppals and write to Kopil Sillibal to ban it..., oh I can so relate to it...and can't stop laughing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you're framing the letter (or text message- gotta go with the times), I suggest you insert something about it being somehow anti-Congress. Or not, they'll get their invisible-insult finders to work on it.

      Delete
  9. I once went to a cinema hall to watch 'Hum aapke hain kaun'. I never turned back to ask that question again.

    I don't know what had went wrong that time, since most of these things seem to have had advent after that visit, but have often heard stories of what transpires when the lights go out.
    But isn't this phenomenon emerging out from the dark and now clouding decent places and public places too?

    Nice read!

    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes it is. The world is becoming a backyard. Time to hide in the bathroom ;/

      Delete
  10. Wow! That was great fun and quite a compilation of the zoo denizens that comprises a cine-hall audience.

    Sometimes, though, there are stand-out moments. Once I had a Navjot Sidhu - Clueless Viewer combo next to me while watching Gandhi. While Gandhi was on the fast against partition riots, the CV asks ths NSS "Abhi mar jayega kya?" Now THAT redefined clueless for me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      I've heard stuff along those lines as well. Mostly the Morgan Freeman- Nelson Mandela mix-up.

      Delete
  11. A good compilation of the freaks who inhabit our movie theatres, Trisha! Believe it or not, last time I went to watch Gravity, there were a bunch of women who were high on something. They kept giggling through the opening. We turned around and asked them to shut up. When they didn't, I stood up and insulted them asking them to leave if they could not control their hysterical giggling. There was pin drop silence after that and I must admit that I felt really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kudos! Retribution is deliciously sweet *evil grin*

      Delete
  12. The list is quite exhaustive of the irksome fellow movie goers. The ones who need a special mention is the habitual latecomers looking for seats and tripping over your feet in the dark, group of picnickers who accidentally land up in the theater creating a ruckus etc.Luckily we do not visit too often so are spared from the august company:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Latecomers! I can't believe I missed those. Best way to avoid them- corner seats. Or a strategically placed hand to block them out of your vision. Or "arrangements" [refer comment by 'Jam']

      Delete
  13. Taxonomy well done! I would add the all focused, serious looking gentlemanly me who is also a self-proclaimed film expert, critic and thinks loud on office lunch table after every movie that I could have done a better job with that theme than the director who messed it all out. I would not stop there, but criticize the bad camera work and editing job too, though I’m a clueless Navjyot Sidhu trying to play a Malcom Marshall ball after Marshall has gone back to bowl the next one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, but that is post-movie behaviour, which can be the subject of another entire post.

      Delete
  14. And there are some who always make it a point to come late and try to almost sit on your lap, those who go out for loo in the midst of a movie when you are too engrossed to give them way, and those giggles from group of college students.............., the list seems to be endless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always said that the entire hall should consist of corner seats. Who cares about the rules of geometry?

      Delete
  15. Well, I can't help but agree that we as people need to be taught once again about public antiquate. Indians display no civic sense in any scenario especially in movie theatres where they forget that others top came to watch a movie in peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could always fight fire with fire. Makes for a quite a light-show :D

      Delete
  16. There was day when we missed all these incidents.
    My wife and I went for a morning show on a week day..Guess what?
    We were the ONLY ones in the theatre and they were decent enough to run the movie for us.
    Guess the movie....YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA..Now you know why were we the only ones

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm feeling greener than the grass on the other side (couldn't resist the opportunity to make a jealousy pun).

      Delete
  17. Hahaha, you had me nodding to each and every line in the post :) I once saw a rather traditional looking lady bring in her 6-7 yr old son to watch Brokeback mountain! 30-45 min into the movie she got up with an indignant look on her face, gave the rest of us "you are good for nothing" stares and walked out with her kid :P :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do these people even choose what movie to watch? Do they spin a bottle? :/

      Delete
  18. Great post! Hilarious, but at the same time thought provoking. It is really a bitter experience to see a movie peacefully in a theater There are some who may be watching the movie second or third time. Their running commentary will not stop. I prefer to see a movie at home..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I avoid movie theaters as much as a possibly can. Except when some 3D spectacular comes out.

      Delete
  19. There is one more category you forgot to mention, the "Star-Bhakt" or "Star-devotee"...... each entry of that stat they shout and they are more that happy just to see him ( they never bother to listen dialogues)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *ahem* I may have a bit guilty of this during Thor...

      Delete
  20. Wow!!! Hilarious read indeed...............

    Besides if you are interested I want to share a great way of promoting your blog with you. @Kenfolios for Bloggers
    we are offering tons of good features and opportunities for Bloggers/Writers through our writers and bloggers program. Visit Kenfolios writers and bloggers program for more details and join for your own benefit and promotion of your blog.
    Writers-Bloggers Program-Kenfolios
    You can contact me @ banerjeedebopam@hotmail.com for more details.
    So Join Kenfolios and give your blog a boost.
    Please ignore if you are not interested.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ah! Though I don't go to movie halls so often, I have experienced some of what you mentioned above. The best (read worst) experience of all was when throughout the movie, a couple of kids fighting with each other to come sit in my lap and their mother - a beautiful one - I gave in on her :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha...that doesn't sound bad at all!

      Delete
  22. Oh oh.

    This was a very detailed post, and I'm just happy that we've never met in a movie hall. You see, it's my life mission to get kicked out of a movie hall.

    So far I haven't been able to do that, but I have been warned multiple times to just shut my trap / keep my popcorn to myself. (Fun fact: nachos fly surprisingly accurately to their target).

    Lets just agree to disagree that a movie is about the movie itself. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are meant to be seated inside the dome...For further details, please refer to this link -> http://theoatmeal.com/comics/movie_theater_layout

      Delete
  23. silence is meant for lambs : this one line is going to stay with me for real long...Lovely post..lovely lovely post... Congrats Trisha Ray.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trisha Ray's Mom is feeling immensely proud even though she feels Ms Tee could have done a better job of it.

      Delete
  24. Good funny read, Trisha. There is this tribe in the US (Indians), who laugh hysterically rather irritatingly in the scenes any IT guys are shown or any serious senti scenes for that matter. It gets on my nerves. And in comedy scenes, they all are muted. I took my four year old to a movie and swore I would never take her to another one. She doesn't fuss or yell, but keeps asking me for every 15 mins, is the movie over? after every song and every fight..ugh!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since Trisha is too busy to preparing for her exams(that's what she'd have me believe) I will reply on her behalf.

      Trisha did the same with us, every time we took her to the zoo, amusement parks or an outing. The only difference, she's ask "when are we going to eat'!

      Delete
    2. Haha...that age is cute..isn't it? My son asks though....eat, eat, eat...lol..tell her to write her exams well, on our behalf :)

      Delete
  25. I am completely annoyed by the couples with children. Angry looks sometimes work on them but people are basically shameless when it comes to watching their idols in action. I have mostly stopped watching movies in cinema halls. I would prefer to sit with a bunch of animals from the zoo and watch a movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delhi Zoo - ARE YOU LISTENING?

      Delete
  26. Ah,Trisha takes after her mommy.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Actually there is a very funny scene in a movie gods bless America where protagonist kills the teenagers for disturbing and disrespecting them.and spare one girl who was stopping her friends from doing that!

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...