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     Volume 9 Issue 37| September 17, 2010|

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A Cinema Experience

Elita Karim

For many of us, watching a movie is limited to an evening of watching DVDs in the living room, sometimes with friends who bring packets of chanachur and Pringles, sustenance for the two hours or more of viewing. Stories of the pre-independent era where older members of the family used to watch both Bangladeshi and foreign movies at the theatre seem like something of a fairy tale. In fact, in one of Humayan Ahmed's autobiographies, he describes scenes from his childhood where the rickshaws were hailed to take the women of the family out, would be covered with large sheets, creating a sort of purdah for the women who would be travelling, from the prying eyes of the people in the streets. After getting the rickshaws prepared, the women would then come out, covered from head to toe, hop on to the rickshaws with their children and ride to the nearest cinema. These women would hardly ever miss the first day first shows and would make it a point to watch them on screen. Those are the times most cherished, writes Ahmed; memories etched deep inside the heart. Clearly, the standard of movie theatres, movie watchers and the quality of the creations have dropped significantly in the last many decades. Thus, a huge section of movie lovers simply have stopped going to theatres to watch movies.

Maybe it is the recent DVD system and flat screen revolution which changed the way we like to watch movies all by ourselves or with a couple of friends inside one's home. In fact, it is not very difficult to build a mini-theatre inside a home. All you would need is a wide screen television and a good quality DVD system, not to mention a bowl of chips or homemade pakodas. However, there is simply a lot more to an actual movie theatre than meets the eye. The entire Cinema experience would include a lot more the joy of victory, the agony of defeat and the tears wept at someone's loss, in a nutshell, the magic of the movies manages to come through and touch the audience' heart easily. The Star Cineplex, located on Pahthapoth, Dhaka, has introduced this lost section of movie lovers, once again to the exciting experience of cinema on screen.

Those passing by the Basundhara Shopping Complex must have seen the huge promotional poster of the movie 'PS I Love You.' Even though the movie is currently a regular on Star Movies, watching the movie on screen would definitely be quite an experience, especially for young people and teenagers.

The movie is about a young widow who is guided by the letters and gifts which arrive from her husband, after he dies. At one point, the letters become her guide to a new life and much to her mother's horror, instead of slowly moving on with her life, she becomes all the more attached to her husband's memory. Strangely enough, this movie ran well even in the month of Ramadan, in Dhaka.

One of the worst parts of watching a movie is when you accidentally drop the large pack of popcorn that one has just purchased from the food stall outside, on the staircase to the theatre. If worse comes to worse, you also drop the large coke on the staircase thus making the popcorn all soggy and too wet to pick up for the garbage. You know that you are missing the movie when it restarts after the interval and try to swerve past the annoyed staff, cleaning the mess that you have made.

There are passionate moments shared between the people watching the movie, as well. For instance, in Dhaka, one could easily share a box of pop corn with the unknown person sitting next to him or her and maybe share a tissue box as well. Yet another element that is a significant part of watching a movie inside the movie hall is the series of responses and reactions that groups of people give to certain scenes on screen; a gasp, or laughter, even a little sniffling.

In a city like Dhaka, it is natural for someone to look for a way to vent his or her outbursts and watching a movie, accompanied with a bag of goodies, and is not a bad idea at all. After all, it is only at the cinema where a little bit of the magic that makes movies so special, rubs off on many movie goers.


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