Nita had tagged me almost a year back for revealing my quirks related to watching movies. I thank her for the opportunity very much, as this is yet-another-close-to-my-heart topic!
- I have watched more movies in restricted cinema halls as a member of film clubs and in film festivals than in public cinema halls.
- I guess I do not make a good movie-watching companion in the usual sense. I am totally unresponsive to any communication during the movie. When my family or friends turn to look at me and talk during a movie, I get irritated because I don’t want them to miss even a single frame.
- I almost never persuade others to watch films that I like. In my younger days, I used to, but after repeated disappointments, I became wiser.
- Watching opening and closing credits is almost like a religious ritual for me. I avoid going to cinema theatres where early risers are likely to block the view of the end credits. In such circumstances, I prefer sitting in the front rows. This partly stems from my association with a few close friends who work in behind-the-scenes roles as assistant directors, music directors, producers, etc. Only partly, because this is similar to books, where I read each page of the critical acclaim, publishing history – including all the edition information, the ISBN catalogue details, printing information, etc.
- The only time I have left a movie in-between was when I and my girlfriend were watching an old black and white Japanese film on the horrors of Hiroshima. I didn’t feel like being Seinfeld with Schindler’s List, so we politely made our exit after we discovered what the movie was about.
- In Mumbai (then Bombay), I was the sole (illegal) under-18 member of a leading film society, the Prabhat Chitra Mandal. PCM’s Mr. Nandgaonkar had personally screened me, and after an hour-long chat about films by great directors, he had no qualms to accept my application.
- The most intense cinematic experience in my life was during the screening of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at the NFAI in Pune. The hall was not only packed, there was no space to stand in the aisles! Yet at the poignant climax towards the end (no spoilers), each and every member of the audience was in a world of their own. You could not hear a pin drop, because there was not a single pin dropping. The audience stopped breathing for a few moments as if that would disturb the moment.
- I almost always like to check out reviews and critics’ opinions before I watch a film – often to decide if I’m going to watch it, and if yes, to know what I’m going to pay attention to in terms of film appreciation.
- I once guided Helen to her seat in a screening. She had left the hall during the intermission and was hesitant about her place when she returned. She was sitting directly in the row in front of us, and I obliged. Her presence, demeanor, and personality was that of a queen!
- I sometimes watch great films again, focusing specifically on one aspect of the film-making. For example, I will watch Charulata for studying the acting, then for studying the camera work, once for the direction and editing, and yet again solely for the sets and art decoration. There are a handful of films I have watched multiple times this way, some Ray, some Kurosawa, and some others.
- Maybe because of the type of films I enjoy watching, they stay with me for a long time. I cannot watch one film after another. I like long meaningful discussions about the film afterwards. The longest ‘hangover’ I had after watching a film was when I watched the uncensored Bandit Queen in Berlin.
There! I trust you will not easily find a more quirky movie-buff than me!