It won’t be longer PVRs and other theaters will be opened again. It would be back with new viewing experiences and entertainment allure, but with certain restrictions and social distancing. We expect care will be taken to ensure security of women and children; else preference would shift for streaming movies. But at this juncture, I am wondering the past viewing experience when watching movie for single woman was weird and a social taboo.
I hardly went to the Movie alone, no women or a girl did, was it due to social taboo or was they were afraid? It was not so easy for me to comprehend. Since my childhood, I had seen many movies in a theater, would coax my parents to do the advance bookings and off we would go and enjoy Amitab Bacchan’s dashing scenes, Rishi’s romantic extravaganza’s, and Zeenat Aman’s grace , but never saw any single woman in a theater alone. She would be always with her family, friend, boyfriend, or husband. It was weird for women to sit on her theater seat with popcorn in her hand but not for men. What happened to me and why I am remembering now of the viewing experience of the past as I am watching movie on my smart TV set that too Delhi Crime.
In those days, I was a college-going girl though ventured to pursue my professional goals but I also went with a flow, never dared to watch a movie on my own. The reason was not much due to social taboo as it was to nefarious designs of men. It was he vs she. He could sit as the way he want, and with his legs wide open, while she was exposed to sexual harassment and eve-teasing. Secondly, it was not easy for her to stand in a queue of desperate men to buy tickets, there were a crowd, rush, rowdies, and black ticket sellers.
I am talking of “Unh Dino”, it was earlier nineties, eve-teasing was rampant; a man could easily make a girl target of his lustful eyes. The dark theater was a great opportunity to touch her, a girl who dares to sit alone.
This is my story too. Once I and my friend wore the best dresses for the daredevil undertaking, I watched a movie in Mumbai. It was an English one, a taboo in many families, but the movie was very sweet “Home Alone”. It was a story of a child who was mistakenly left alone at home as the whole family went on vacation, and what the child did to pass his time and save himself from intruders. So it was a children’s movie, funny and nice.
Theatre went dark, everything was going well, and the movie was great. We were laughing and, enjoying each scene of it. But at lunchtime, I got perplexed at the sudden intrusion into my privacy. I had gone to the washroom. My dress was flared, it waved as I moved. As I stepped down the stairs, to come out of the hall, a man was standing at the food counter; he must be middle-aged with a child. He started gazing at me with his luscious eyes, but I ignored him, went straight to wash, and rushed back to take my seat, without looking here and there. As the theater darkened, I started feeling somebody is touching me. The same man was sitting just behind my seat. In those days there would be no such privacy in between the seats, and darkness was a movement for the men to lick their evil lips. I looked behind and here and there. As the theater was so dark, it was very difficult to make out who was doing this, I thought I must be imagining. But it continued, I tried to save myself. I was very timid, though I was feeling uncomfortable but dared not take any action. As the movie ended, we rushed outside but he continued to stalk us. We both started running finally reaching the crowded place and he vanished.
This would happen at the movie theaters when movie-going was a craze and tickets would sell in black. It was get together of a family, boyfriend, and girlfriend, husband-wife who wanted to have some moments together, eating popcorns and enjoying what we are so crazy about. But it was not for single women, a one who dared to go easily rendered a toy girl, a target of the luscious eyes.
But thanks to the year 1997, when theaters turned into PVR, a company which slowly turned into a brand. It acquired Cinemax in 2012 and took over DT cinemas in the year 2016. It served more than 100 million patrons annually. Now it is serving circuit of 845 screens in 176 properties around 71 cities.
It ensures security now and tickets are sold online.
Still, girls do not venture alone to enjoy, though reasons now are different. The experience changed becoming more of a family thing and of partying and watching. I too once went to saw a movie this time at the age of 48 alone, back seat, reclining, and comfortable. Families were enjoying eating and watching, no interference, no eyeballs rolling, and no stalking. Even if I got completely engrossed in the movie there was no one to even glare at me. At lunchtime I got a bit bored, there was no one to eat with me and I hesitated to buy and eat alone, yet I had a cup of coffee.
Now again, everything has changed as the pandemic hit the world. Theaters are closed now and we can enjoy movie watching on Netflix, Amazon, and other platforms. But, unlock 2 is going to happen and theaters would be the last thing to get opened. But the experience would not be the same again, though we expect safety would be ensured with enough space between the seats, complete sanitization program for the viewers, physically as well over the men’s mentality and intensity. We expect it would be a moment for the women to open up and go watch a favorite movie.
No doubt coronavirus is deadly but it has taught men, do not dare! And it would be an eye-opener for the PVR owners to ensure the safety of women and children so that they enjoy and experience the PVR thing. Believe me, if we live alone, shop alone, even fly airplanes then it should not be made a big thing to watch movies alone. It’s our life; we will and will do it.
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