Monthly Archives: July 2010

The day when affordable cinema died

The Author of the following post is my esteemed ex-roommate Sadanand Kamat. He continues to be either busy or plain lazy to create an account by himself and open a blog in his own name. And he came up with this totally awesome article about Multiplexes and cinema that I could not resist putting up here. So, with kind permission and full acknowledgment, here is the post by Sadanand Kamat:

There was a time in India where there were only single screen theatres. The ticket prices were one of the lowest in the world. Movies were affordable by everyone right from the auto driver to an investment banker. But, ever since the advent of multiplexes like PVR and INOX, ticket prices have inflated enormously and movies have become a luxury than a part of day to day entertainment. What surprises me the most that the supply demand theory doesn’t fit into this segment of the market. Let me explain. Yesterday, I decided to watch ‘Raajneeti’ the much hyped political thriller. I logged on to the net to check out where it was playing and obviously PVR was one of them. I was shocked to find that the ticket price was hefty Rs. 350 and only 4 seats were left. I showed PVR the middle finger in my mind and decided to download the movie from the net in a few days.

I get pissed off when people on television make statements like ‘Stop piracy. Watch movies in the theatre’. Well fuck you bitch – do I look like an idiot to watch that crappy 3 hour movie of yours paying Rs. 350 when I don’t make Rs. 100 an hour as a software engineer.

But then again I was getting so fucking bored sitting in my AC room doing nothing over the weekend that I decided to give it another shot. I remembered seeing a ‘Raajneeti’ poster in ‘Maratha Mandir’ on my way back from office that day. For, those of you who are not from Bombay, ‘Maratha Mandir’ is a very old theatre near Mahalaxmi that even to this day plays ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ on its screen. Just the thought that someone could be so passionate about a movie to play it even to this day makes you want to go to that theatre atleast once. So, I went to the theatre half an hour before the movie started and got a Balcony Ticket for Rs. 75. Can you believe it? Rs. 75 for the highest class of tickets available. The owner of the theatre could start online booking, paint the building, make the staff wear uniforms, serve burgers instead of Balaji chips and raise the price to Rs. 100 or Rs. 150 without affecting his revenues. But, then the whole point of having a movie theatre where everyone irrespective of their social class come and enjoy the movie experience would be lost. What is even more baffling is the theatre is really good. Good seats, excellent sound system, inexpensive food and a decent crowd.

I hate multiplexes. They have smaller screens, adopt variable pricing and excessively overcharge. People justify these shortcomings by saying that there is variety of movies that you can choose from in a multiplex. WTF kind of explanation is that? If I want to watch a particular movie, I bloody want to watch that movie only. I don’t care about the variety of crap available at the theatre. It is like saying I go to an underwear store because of the variety of sizes they have!

All this apart, by far the worst part about multiplexes is that they have created sub classes among people. People feel going to multiplexes is classier as compared to single screen theatres. And this is seen most rampantly when couples go to movies. Have you seen the number of couples in PVR. When I asked my brother why he doesn’t take out girls to movies he simply said that girls want you to take them to PVR and he couldn’t afford that. I totally agree with him. The girl who is more concerned about the elitism attached with the theatre rather than the movie experience, let alone your pocket is a fucking whore. The whore doesn’t realize that it is more fun to watch a movie like ‘Lagaan’ in a single screen when people started dancing when India won the match rather than go to PVR and stare at the screen for 3 hours. If you are a Bangalorean, think about the times you saw ‘Upendra’ or ‘A’ in a single screen theatre versus say seeing ‘Iron Man 2’ in PVR. Can you even compare the two?

The sad is part is that most of the single screen theatres today are being torn down to build shopping complexes and malls. Every mall that comes up will have more multiplexes, and will kill more single screens. There might come a day when the last single screen theatre is torn down and that day will probably be known as the ‘The day when affordable cinema died’.

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Report Card for FIFA World Cup 2010: Last 16

Ok Ok. The World Cup has improved drastically in both quality and entertainment value in the past one week in strong contrast to what we had witnessed in the Group Phases. There has been some free flowing football, some close finishes, some good scorelines, entertaining football, and of course then there are the Dutch. But more about them later. First up, lets get fully judgmental and talk about the matches that took place.

URUGUAY 2:1 KOREA: Ah well, though I didn’t expect too much of quality in this, I have to say, just watching Luis Suarez play around with the ball and especially with that sweet sweet finish that was the second goal, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he makes a move to a UCL playing team in the transfer window. Having said that, failure to utilize clear cut chances (including a couple of one on ones) on part of Korea just made them to deserve the result.

USA 1:2 GHANA: Ah! How I was rooting for Ghana in this match! This was one captivating game with either side playing some free flowing attacking football! Oh wait sorry! The USA ended up playing Soccer in a Football World Cup! No wonder they lost! Also, Ghana’s Goalie- the Kingson dude- was very easily the most awesome guy in the entire stadium that day. Save after save after save was the only reason why Ghana still remains in the World Cup. He was such an awesome keeper that the fact that he is also the 4th choice goalie for Wigan Athletic doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

GERMANY 4:1 ENGLAND: Most entertaining game of the Knock out phase and The less said about this the better. So many things have been said about goal line technology and how that goal could have prevented the German counter attack etc etc. But none of that is going to change the fact that England played crappy football all through the World Cup and simply deserved to go home. Having said that, I shall, without any hesitation, concede that Miroslav Klose was simply a different footballer that day and made some really useful plays (in contrast to my earlier opinion on how badly he played in the Group Stage).

ARGENTINA 3:1 MEXICO: Argentina again show why they are the team to beat and still continuing to prove why they are the most entertaining team to watch. I have nothing new to add here except that I had wished to see more of Kun Aguero that day.

PARAGUAY 5:3 JAPAN: Boring game with some pathetic finishing and settled fast with penalties. Wish I could have just seen the penalties and saved myself some quality time.

SPAIN 1:0 PORTUGAL: That is what you get for just relying on counter attack and let the Spanish pass the ball to death. There is  bound to be a goal somewhere there. And I have to say that Spain won against Portugal INSPITE OF  Fernando Torres. As per my earlier opinion, Fernando Torres continued his journey towards becoming the Emile Heskey of Spain and I believe has become successful to a large extent. But thanks to people like David Villa and Iniesta and Xavi who actually make that extra effort to score goals, Spain still stay on and play.

NETHERLANDS 2:1 SLOVAKIA: And of course there are the Dutch. Grinding out cheap wins consistently via producing some totally retarded football is an art and the Dutch seem to have mastered that. Get a load of this: With the exception of 5 times, the Dutch NEVER passed the ball FRONT in the opponent’s half of the pitch in the first half! (It was 12 in the 2nd half). It was as if they were playing with normal football rules in their half and with Rugby rules in the opponent’s half-( you know that rule which states that you cannot pass the ball FRONT and can only pass BACK or SIDEWAYS?) Not that they didn’t try. Its just that the pass mostly ended up being either intercepted or going out of bounds. If you think I am exaggerating, just watch the replay of that match and COUNT for yourself. THAT is how fucking lame the Dutch are playing!

BRAZIL 3:0 CHILE: And that is why I am so looking forward to Brazil belting the Dutch ass! Brazil, on the other hand, played football which actually involved completed front passes in the opponent’s half as well. And contrary to popular belief, the boys from Brazil do NOT seem to have abandoned the Sambha style of play. At this point however let it be made known that I am NOT a fan of Brazil and do not intend to see them lift the World Cup.

On a side note, I want to make a comment about how the English FA are reacting to the lame performance of their team in the World Cup. With regard to the decision on whether to keep Capello or to fire him, the FA seem to be toeing the we-need-to-fix-the-real-problem-not-the-symptoms line of reasoning while favoring to keep Capello. They imply that developing a good youth system is the answer to the problems etc etc. There is a fundamental flaw in this line of reasoning. I believe that the intended consequence of this youth system development is the production of really good players as such. My question is this: When you already have players with the capacity of Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Cole (J and A), etc, what are the odds that the youth system will churn out players who are even better than this crop? If the manager cannot get this bunch of world class players to produce good results, what makes the FA think he can do any better with a different bunch of players? A change of tactics (if not manager) is of the essence. There is no freakin way somebody like Wayne Rooney can just randomly decide to lose form. If he doesn’t get the ball, WTF is he going to do just running around?