So I take a half day from office to watch two films I was eagerly waiting for. I meet a friend and an intern from office and we head towards Matterden CFC (The Deepak). So this post isn’t about the films I saw, its rather about the evening and the place where I spent time between the two films. The films were Margarita with a straw and Court (of course) – both the films weren’t typically the films that theaters await, but they did and which is why I could go watch them and choose to write about the experience.
So, don’t ask me how the films were, please go watch it for yourself. I can assure you they will not disappoint.
So, we walked down to this place and realized that the place set among the typical chawl system is doing something experimental with the new makeover it received! I had heard a lot about the place and they were showing both the films, so it even make logistical sense to watch them there. So the place is very informal with the owner running around the place, checking your ticket at some time while pulling a bench for you at another moment. So there’s a small cafe and lot of benches and tables to sit and relax, with books and magazines to read if there’s no one to talk.
It was time for Margarita to begin and we saw the film. Came out and had 2 hours to kill before Court would begin. So the place had already sparked interest in my mind (and that means I think of how can I make a documentary on it), so while we were on the bench discussing TISS and some other films, I was constantly looking for someone who I could talk to about the place and its transformation. That didn’t happen, but while we were walking out the owner, walked up to us for a quick feedback of the film (Margarita with a straw). I was quick to know he was my man! I asked how come he hadn’t seen the film (assuming that they have access early on), to which he replied he had to be out of the hall and see things are working smoothly. Turned out he was the owner of the place and his grandfather had built the theater in 1926. The place (like its locality) majorly saw employees of the surrounding mills come for their weekly dose of entertainment (I’m going to dig up the internet for more information about the theater that once showed movies for 8 aana and 12 aana.) And I couldn’t control my curiosity and questions started flowing out. At one point I even pressed some buttons(about their business model) which I shouldn’t have had. But I got to know nothing interesting from him, probably because it was the first time, although he showed interest in meeting up again to discuss more. When I asked him about photographs of the place from back in the 20s, he asked me to google it out – practicality of the solution isn’t a doubt, but my excitement about its close to 90 year history dropped with that response. The place is revamped now and has a unique feel. Basically you can do whatever you want, unlike multiplexes where you are systematically guided through hundreds of jazzy stores before you reach the theater. Here they don’t frisk you. They’ll not bother you to buy popcorn, they’ll not sell credit cards while you’re waiting for the show to begin. Nice and cool.
Then when we went out, I explore a very different aspect of the place.
I wanted to eat something and walk around in the set myself for Court, already we were in the zone of the film anyway. So after eating, I was talking to the (desi) pizza guy about his regular customers and other random things. I don’t know how, but I asked him if he knew about what happened to Deepak cinema. He said he had seen films there as a kid for very cheap, but now it has become terribly expensive (not even thinking about the off-beat films they choose to play). And because the price was so high that he would rather go to a multiplex. To which I argued that there’s a ‘Marathi’ film playing for 100 rupees (here I said Marathi film for the sake of convenience as the point was about the place, Court as the filmmakers say is a multilingual film meant to portray the spirit of Bombay in its true sense.) The ball was in his Court, in fact I even offered him to come watch the film with me to which he said he watches films only on Saturday or Sunday. I figured that most offices stay shut both days and it wouldn’t be a bad decision for his business. With that I thought of how the pricing (& the new model) would have affected the theater’s business. And how the changed image/makeover target an audience which was completely reversed. Wonder how the dynamics would have been and would be in the future.. But praises for the idea behind the makeover. It needs strength to come out of losses, strive to experiment a new model and not make way for the concrete around.
Drop a comment if you’ve ever been to the place and thought about it.
P.S.: It may be natural for you to expect my take on both the films. All I can say is I don’t have words that would do justice to the film. Some experiences are best felt.