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Larger than life

R. Krishna gets nostalgic about large-screen cinemas which are becoming a rare commodity these days

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get tickets on the second day after the release of a much hyped film like Corporate. When all the multiplexes were house-full, we decided to try our luck at Aurora in Matunga – the cinema where we saw classics like DDLJ, Bombay, Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke, and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin.

Those were the days when eatables were allowed inside the hall. Much to my chargin, grandma would open a dabba in the interval even as other kids would treat themselves to samosas and lemonade. Not that slice cakes and chips my grandma brought for the film were bad. But bahar ka khana seemed too alluring to me back then.

I was looking forward to see that old canteen again, to see if it had changed. But first things first. The loo. It was not swanky, but was clean. And it certainly didn’t have an automatic water-dispensing system.

The oval canteen had the same items it offered when I was a kid – batata vada, samosas, chai-coffee, cold drink, and of course pop-corn. (No caramel pop-corn here *sigh*). We bought pop-corn and Mirinda. The pop-corn was packed in a paper cone. But the oil in which it had been prepared was too old. Also, there was no paper cup with straw for the Mirinda – we had to gulp the bottle down.

Soon it was back to the hall, and another hour later we were out. Khel khatam paisa hajam.

In this era of multiplexes, I had forgotten these cinema halls. Humongous screen. Uncomfortable chairs (without a bottle holder). Malnourished cooling system. Vicco Vajra-danti and Vicco Turmeric advertisements. And an occasional tear in the speakers when the sound was too loud. At 80 bucks for balcony, I loved it!

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