From mass whistling at the entry of their favourite hero, enjoying popcorn to interval chitchat — the fun-filled larger than life cinema experience seems to be a distant dream with theatres being shut for over six months now owing to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Much like the public, Bollywood celebs, too, are waiting and hoping that the theatres will soon reopen. We get talking to some of them about what is it that they’re missing the most about the movie viewing experience on the big screen.
For me, watching on the giant screen with that kind of sound makes the experience real. The idea of community watching is a part of our tradition. Our emotions become bigger when we laugh, sob, cry and clap together in excitement. Such experiences bring out the best in us. I hope theatres open soon. I think we are social to the point that the current state of affairs is unnatural for us. There are certain films, such as, Christopher Nolan’s latest movie Tenet, that I wanted to watch on the big screen.
Watching 3D films or for that matter any special effect extravaganza is what I can’t wait to experience again on the big screen. Theatres are kind of a community experience, it’s like a modern day equivalent to story being told and enjoyed together. There is a charm to watching stories being unfold on the big screen. The visuals take you to another world, sometimes you feel you are a part of what you see. I miss ganging up with friends for a cinema experience. And, if I am a part of a film that I am watching with everyone else then that’s a different high altogether.
I miss watching the early morning shows while sipping on my coffee and enjoying my samosa. I feel a tickle in my stomach every time a film is about to begin. Great filmmakers and cinematographers create experiences thinking about the big screen where you don’t miss out even on the minutest of details. People laughing, clapping together… even watching those song and dance sequences, fight scenes, all these on the big screen is a different experience altogether. And it becomes all the more special if I am a part of the film. Also, I’ miss watching 3D and animation movies in theaters.
As an actor, there’s not a bigger feeling than seeing yourself on the big screen and experiencing that yourself and with people around. I honestly believe no matter what replaces what, the pleasure of watching something on the big screen is unmatchable. That’s probably the reason why I wanted to become an actor. For me, watching something in the theatres is a very immersive experience. For that two to two-and-half hours, the outside world doesn’t exist. You can’t recreate that anywhere. I’m not just an actor but also a student of cinema who enjoys watching movies from all over the world. I get transported to that world of the story I am watching, which doesn’t happen on smaller screens. I can’t wait to enjoy this world of cinema that I’m not just a part of, but also a fan of.
I definitely miss the big screen experience even though the web has been an absolute blessing in this period and has been providing us with entertainment. But for me, watching films while munching on popcorns and enjoying the company of my friends will always be unmatched. There are a few movies which have a larger than life canvas and it cannot give you the same experience or visual treat if watched in smaller screen. The whole experience of watching a narrative in that dark room with many other people, sharing laughter, claps and sorrows as the narrative unfolds on screen is something that can never happen anywhere else.
I miss watching a film with popcorn in hand and friends by your side. When you go to a theatre full of people, you become a part of their collective reaction to the emotions that’s being played out in the narrative. We all become one beyond our names, culture, beliefs and are unified by the larger than life experience and emotion that the story evokes within us. In our busy lives, even though we are with our families and friends, somewhere there’s this loneliness within. That sort of diminishes when we all cry and laugh together while watching a film in a theatre with many other people. This community watching culture and live reaction is unmatchable.
It’s something we all have grown up with. I feel when you go for a film you watch it in one go unlike now when we are watching on TV or phones, when we at times end up shutting or pausing in between. That submersive experience in a dark room with a 70 mm screen is totally larger than life. As you watch a Baahubali or Salman Khan hit a punch or Shah Rukh Khan’s signature pose and smile, the whistles, laughter and the collective response is a phenomenal experience altogether. For generations, going to a cinema on a Sunday or a holiday with family and friends is like a ritual.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ