Update for week ended 26 February 2010
The milling crowds outside the cinema hall started getting fidgety. They were not sure whether to head to the little ticket window on the side or wait for some reaction before buying their tickets. They noticed that a queue had built up outside the box-office and the poster boys were busy pasting the colourful 5’ X 7’ movie adverts on the bill board by the cycle stand. The poster looked attractive. It was not unique in any way – it was like most movie posters – colourful, with images of the hero, heroine, villain and 1 or 2 other chief characters, all arranged in a bouquet-like manner, with the largest picture being that of the hero. He looked rugged, with a 2-day old stubble and an angry frown on his face, while the heroine had the next big billing – wearing the multicolour outfit posing in a dance step. The villain’s mug was the next with a menacing grin on his face and coloured blue to distinguish him from the “good guys”. The sundry others just looked out of the poster because they were yester year heroes. There were some fillers of car chase scenes, picturesque Swiss mountains, a gold locket with an emblem and a blood dripping dagger indicating that the movie would try and meet expectation of romance (songs on mountaintops), drama and emotion (golden locket), thrill (car chase) and suspense (blood dripping dagger). But the skeptical crowd outside the movie hall was still not sure if they wanted to pay money to get into the dark hall with its malfunctioning air conditioning, insipid samosa, Indian stuffed and fried pastry, and spend the next three hours on a creaking chair. The movie had to be compelling; the poster had done half the trick, as the box-office queues got longer and rowdier. The undecided crowd finally bit the bullet and decided to walk in. They were slightly late as the initial round of slide projection silent ads had just concluded and the movie hall was being darkened. The crowds now zeroed in on the usher with his torch to guide them to their seats. Their eyes had not yet adjusted to the sudden darkness and suddenly the screen exploded with colour and sound – some of the viewers stumbled as they crossed over bent knees and crushed some feet to their seats in the middle of the row. Those seated in the rear started shouting at the late-comers for marring their screen views. There was a mini-mayhem of sorts as the theatre started filling in. The movie had started, but a few of the people missed the dialogues or visuals because they were late-comers finding their way to their seats or early seaters who yelled at the latecomers as they blocked them or knocked them or crushed their toes. And then the moment came when the built anticipation was to unfold. The hero had just escaped an assassination attempt, and mingled into a crowd in a village fair, mela, and when he headed into the darkened tent, silence enveloped him, as did the movie hall. Everyone waited with bated breath for the next – suspense was built up just right. And then the studded veil rose from a podium and the carrier, a lissome lass, hummed a tune that sent the audience into a tizzy. They whistled and cat-called and stood up and cheered. As though the movie heroine was aware of the reaction, she paused for just the right time, and then continued her ditty. She danced and pranced along, and the movie hall joined her in the dance by dancing down the aisles and some energetic folks even climbed onto the stage near the screen dancing all along. The enthralled crowd wanted more of the song, and when the hero jumped onto the podium with the heroine, the crowds knew that sparks would fly and the movie would be worth every paisa they spent! They stayed glued to their seats except in the interval and when they walked out, some of them headed back to the box office window.
This week at D Street was one of wait and watch – as an anticipated event was due to unfold on the Friday – the Union Budget. So some of the D Boyz were skeptical and stood on D Street doing nothing, while some queued up to buy tickets for the event – so on Monday if 45 bought tickets, about 48 bought tickets on Tuesday. That pushed up the SENSEX by as many points on the respective days. And then a few of the skeptics stayed away from the box-office pushing the SENSEX down 36 points on Wednesday. On Thursday, they waited with bated breath for the suspense to end so did nothing; and then when the drama, song and dialogues were reeled off today, the D Boyz whistled and cheered and took the SENSEX zooming up into its 300s, but finally after the song and dance, they settled in their seats to finally close the SENSEX 175 points up – 16429. The D Boyz are happy and have headed home to prepare for the festival of colours!!
The shut box-office window greeted the fresh viewers with a happy smiling “Houseful” board. This did not deter the crowds. They simply headed out to the nearby pan-seller, and quietly slipped a few notes into his palms – to get their tickets for the show. The houseful board will surely stay for a long time at this box-office.
Have a nice week and colourful weekend …. Cheers…