Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jaya Lakshmi Talkies

Before the advent of the multiplexes, which seem to be budding everywhere now, a town could brag at length if it had possessed three cinema theaters. Every town is not Kakinada which is known for its Cinema Road with myriad number of theaters that too back in 90's itself. Though Multiplexes bring a good ambiance and ease of booking I miss the ceremonial way the movie experience used to be back then.  
My town, a modest one had three theaters, Jaya Lakshmi Talkies being the best then.   
Going to movie was always a ceremony mainly because there weren't so many movies & a movie used to be played in a theater for so long a time. Going to movie on a first day was so unorthodox and unthinkable and was only for the yo-yo youth but never a family thing until so and so happens to offer tickets to whole family for the first day (This usually happens only for those Socio-Fantasy movies which as a rule of thumb were always hit among the orthodox ‘class’ people and were avoided by these yo-yo youth as they feel that the news that one watched these movies will disgrace their machismo).   
The elaborate ceremony begins with a promise from father who always insisted on going only to first show @6 pm (Morning show-11:00 am, Matinee-2:30 pm, 2nd show - 9:30 pm) which meant that we all are eagerly waiting and totally dependent on his timely arrival. By the time he comes we are already fully dressed and waiting while my mother checks if I've put the correct clothes suitable to our social status, and in case the shirt was not ironed or I was wearing pants which I like but which she thinks are cheap means that I should do the ramp walk with other clothes till she was satisfied with my appearance. So when finally when father arrives he washes his face and has a quick tea (and Bournvita for kids though I always begged for a tea) and then we set off for the theater the Jaya Lakshmi Talkies.  
While most of the times it's the same fellow giving the tickets and from years of acquaintance he immediately gives 4 balcony tickets, the highest fare, with a big smile on his face. When I asked my mother once why can’t we try a chair this time I was mildly chided for talking very improperly. Balcony, Chair and Bench are descending order in theaters (once when I went to a movie with friends and opted for a chair to get some black money, somehow news got leaked and my movie rights were revoked).   
Being well known has its disadvantages as someone surely accosts and starts palavering. Although I was always wondered how many people my dad knows I secretly worried movie may start and we might miss starting scenes (It happened good number of times). I try to convey the same to my mother by making some eye gestures. And 'he' suddenly rubs my hair and asks, “Hey little one do you remember me?” for which I say without further ado, “Of course uncle”, though it's not true most of the times.  
You know you are in the theater when you notice the overwhelming aroma of fried groundnuts while you can see their shells in many corners. First thing to do after entering search for a suitable place; suitable = directly below a fan, as theaters were not equipped with AC in those days. Latest movie songs are played in the background (other than the movie that’s going to be played) before the movie starts and suddenly the screen lights up there comes the first ad: Chandana Brothers.   
All my childhood I lived seeing that ad and wondering why it’s always the same bride and bridegroom. They had an add specially for theaters which was not played in TVs, which had soothing music and used to fill us with anticipation for the movie. There were never any ads on Men's apparel but always on silks and jewelry of women. This is followed by the famous Margadarsi ad, with the tag line I too joined Margadarsi and bought a scooter. Then the Theater proudly displays that its equipped with Digital DTS Dolby sounds.   
Some people are so curious that its very detrimental sitting beside them while watching movies. If they already know the story they will tell u everything beforehand and spoil the experience or if they don’t know they keep asking or rather pestering you questions related to the movie knowing fully that these questions will be eventually answered in the movie. Nothing has changed much regarding these, and only solution: Don’t sit next to them.  
Movie means father will be little extra friendly and we are free to make any wishes for the junk we are craving for, but the criterion of patriarchy families require you that you present your requests to your mother who will pass it on to his highness. 
We should all personally thank the fella who discovered the experience of movie + popcorn combo. We owe him/her. Once the interval begins One will continually hear a clang, the sound made by steel being hit on a series of glass soft drink bottles.   
Movie theaters and Railway stations have these peculiar species of Samosas which are made of onion curry instead potato’s which smell and taste ridiculously awesome but are always considered unhygienic and low quality and thus are generally off limits. I always hard time convincing my parents that these Samosas are not bad by any standards, but who will listen to a kid in shorts. I've never mentioned about restroom, no if you are the orthodox upper middle class family don’t even think about using the restrooms at theater, you should be well aware of this fact and should take care before you come to the theater.  
The movies always got over with the last scene freezing coupled with the text ‘Shubham’ on it and we be off as there was never any post credits scene in the regional movies since there weren't any sequels. And we follow the untold custom of going to a Restaurant after movie after all any ceremony should end with a pompous supper. 
On the return journey my father always used to tell us his experiences of movies in his childhood and how it was always his brother who took charge of battalion of siblings, which he said to us like a million times but we hear uncomplainingly.  
We comeback home mother brings a fistful of rock-salt with red chilies and revolves it around me and my brother’s head asking us to spit on it, to ward off the effects of evil eyes (disti in Telugu, kannupatturichi in Tamil), i.e., the jealous stares of people, which is said to bring misery. And when asked about it she says, “You're such a good boy and wearing wonderful dress which doubles the threat of covetous looks, beware everyone seem innocuous but we don't know what their intentions are.” I always thought of asking why bother trouble of choosing good clothes and the pain of this ritual again, but thought better of it.  
An unsaid pact requires us the children to go to bed immediately while father watched the news headlines which I never liked as a child. Then I go to sleep looking forward for my next movie which most probably would not be in the same month.    


  1. kalla mundu chupinchav ra jayalakshmi talkies lo mi family ni

  2. Nice one ra..
    My first wall jump starts from rushing to the Jaya Lakshmi talkies.

  3. Gurujiii.... Miru great... Mammalni aashirvadinchandi..... ;)

    suuuuper mama... Gud job... :)

  4. Nice naration.....koncham extra....

  5. Man, I love those samoas!

  6. keka ra
    flashback ki teeskellav
    of course nothing changed


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