I had never reviewed a movie before. So when I was asked to do one, I thought it most polite to accept the offer without complains. Except that the movie was a b-grade Bengali film that released two years too late from its scheduled release date. I went ahead.
February weather is very unpredictable. Hovering somewhere between spring and winter, it makes one throw caution to the wind and venture out without adequate protection from the sudden chill. As I would have it, a chilly gust caught me unawares as I was waiting just outside my office, trying to hail a cab. The movie would’t start before 6 pm and I thought I had plenty of time to find the theatre, purchase the ticket and settle down.
Large isolated droplets of rain pattered on the windshield as the cab rushed down Harish Mukherjee road. I had to reach Indira, the movie hall, which was somewhere on SP Mukherjee Road. I had a vague memory. I had taken my Mom to watch Nishijapon in the same hall. Many, many years back. I bought a dress circle ticket all the while fending off discreet glares of not-so-friendly-looking men floating around the cinema hall.
Quickly, I made my way up the stairs and entered the hall. An old man with a torch ushered me to an aisle seat. There were around eight or nine people in the hall besides me. As I took the rickety seat, I looked around me – cobwebbed screen, the strong stench of urine, a rat scurrying off with a chunk of stale edible, a couple in a corner exchanging meaningful smiles…
The movie began without further ado. The yellowed screen lit up with flickering, unstable images. Age-old sound boxes found their voices.
After an hour and a half of mindless confusion, cacophony, mistaken identities and shitty romantic numbers, not to mention brownie point mosquito bites, I fled.
It took me two macchiato shots to be able to find my sanity and type the review on my BlackBerry and send it to the copy editors. The bonus? A surprise call from the editor on how well written the piece was and why I should be doing more of this. Zen-like smile and a tell tale halo…