Main Theatre. I get goosebumps when I think of the place. In every campus you have been, there would be a place, a favourite abode, which you think is your private space of peace or something similar. Its a little odd that mine on campus is a movie theatre where everyone is welcome.
I started watching movies with some seriousness a couple of years ago. Yes, I began very late. Used to attend some film festivals etc but never thought I would one day be a student of cinema. The first movie watching experience that changed a lot of things in my take on cinema happened in Kozhikode, Kerala, my hometown. In Nalanda Auditorium. The movie was 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.' My mother and I had gone to attend the screening organized by a group called Curtain Media Gathering. The movie had a lot of explicit scenes and we were the only womenfolk in that place. During the screening we heard a bottle break behind a cloth partition behind the seats. Some were drinking during the show. My mother was very uncomfortable watching such content with me and a lot of men around. She was outraged by the irresponsible behaviour by the organizers. During the movie at some point I applauded and I remember her look of anger falling on me from the side. After the show she rebuked me for that. She did have a point like always, malayali men constantly judge you by your view on certain topics. If you smoke, drink, are okay with sex on screen, you are ready to go to bed with them. Well, mostly that's the way the thought process works. Hence the worry for a mother. She also called up one of the organizers and gave a piece of her mind about the drinking that happened there. For all that ruckus I still have fond memories about the movie. I never watched it again only because I didn't want to be corrected about my first opinion about it.
In SRFTI many a turning points happened through movie watching. The first was when I watched The Piano Teacher. Then came Passenger, Elippathaayam... Even when watching it with a lot of people, classmates or otherwise, movie watching is a very personal experience for me. I get irritated with the slightest of disruption from the audience. Consider it a violation upon my private space. Therefore I was very happy to read what Amit Datta, a director whose work I discovered recently and loved said about movie watching. Full story here.
'I am not very keen on this collective viewing experience. You only have that moment, the whole film you are building towards it, and then someone opens the door. It’s gone. It is very annoyingly disturbing. Theatres are not controlled conditions.
Watching a film on a laptop, on the other hand, is as controlled as you can make it. I’m getting very interested in that kind of viewing. This very intense, one-on-one viewing—that is my ideal viewer. It’s as personal as reading a book. You pick up a book and read and don’t attend a collective reading session.
I get very disturbed by the impatience of an audience.'
Main Theatre is what gave me those special moments which I will cherish for long. Main Theatre sometimes makes me think of my mother who pushed me into film festivals and movie screenings, who stood outside my classroom theatre and heard the track of some movie that was being shown to us and wept out of joy and pride, who got very, very angry with my applauding for a movie with nudity, who is perhaps the reason I even started thinking of film as a medium of expression. She is exuberant if I like a screening and discuss the movie with her. When the curtain is drawn and the lights go off a silence of anticipation sets in from within. In my usual seat I cry, laugh, live. I am alone. I am.
Here is my main theatre, everyone's. Screening of some projects of earlier batches.