Watching movie in touring talkies
With the lifting of the lockdown in these times of coronavirus, cinema theatres have reopened in the country to the delight of movie-buffs
With the lifting of the lockdown in these times of coronavirus, cinema theatres have reopened in the country to the delight of movie-buffs. Crowds begin gathering at the theatres with new enthusiasm,fresh vigour and bubbling vivacity to watch movies and derive the audio-visual pleasure on big silver screens which had been unattainable to them for many months.
Youth are awfully excited to be in theatres to grab the sumptuous, celluloid feast by watching their favourite actors' movies. For me, when I behold the young flocking at theatres, the saga of honeyed reminiscences of movie-watching in the by-gone era of my boyhood days keeps inundating my mind.
Unlike the people watching in mega theatres and multi-complexes nowadays, we , the children, living in a village in the 60s would watch films in what was called " Touring Hall". This "Touring Hall" was a huge shed covered with asbestos sheets, nestled in the midst of green fields on a sprawling ground, away from residential areas and screen only two shows- evening- show at 6 pm and night show at 10 pm with just three classes- tarpaulin -covered floor, gallery-class of benches and luxury-class of chairs. We would prefer to watch evening-shows in the company of our friends in the gallery-class.
It was indeed an exhilarating, memorable experience for me to watch movies with a group of my chums in the touring hall. While tramping through the green fields in summer evenings with cool breezes caressing our bodies, we would be watching birds warbling from their cosy perches on tree-branches, chasing the flocks of cranes stalking on the banks of fields, gazing at the pale moon slowly brightening up and stars twinkling in the darkening sky, talking vivaciously, cracking jokes and laughing boisterously and enjoying a lot our walks to the touring hall.
The evening-show in the touring hall would begin with the ringing of the third bell. The folks loitering outside, hanging about at the pan shop and the canteen would rush into the hall. We would buy tickets at the little cabin behind the projector-room, get into the hall and occupy the large bench with our eyes riveted on the curtain of the screen. When the curtain was raising, we, the children become very much excited with our curiosity at its peak. When the movie starts and the show is going on, we were all lost into it, savouring the action, dialogues, songs and comedy in the movie.
But to our dismay, it was not an uninterrupted and continuous show and it usually had two or three breaks as in the projector-room, the film-reels had to be changed during the time of breaks. Of course, the show did have an usual intermission and the folks would relax, having cool drinks and soda at the pan-shop and snacks like pakoras at the canteen and children would munch biscuits. When the bell was rung, ending the intermission ,people would get into the hall and occupy their seats to resume watching the show.
During the show, many a time , a crescendo rises from the floor class in the form of excited screams, ringing whistles, thunderous claps and boisterous laughs when a valiant fight between the hero and the villain takes place. Though elderly people were irked at such noisy disturbances from the groundlings, we, the children, would enjoy such a scenario in the touring hall.
By the time, the evening-show was over, it was past 9 P.M. and we would be back on our way to our homes, talking about the movie. But this time, we would not stroll through fields, for it would be risky with reptiles like serpents moving about at nights in the fields. So we would choose pucca roads to reach our homes. Whenever I look back at my boyhood-days of watching movies in a touring hall , I invariably turn nostalgic, recapturing those moments of the relished and cherished boyish fun and joys.