The “Padma” experience

  On my recent visit to Ernakulam, I was blessed with an opportunity to watch a movie with audience avant-garde. Of late, I have been watching movies either at home or in a Bengaluru multiplex. The audience in a Bengaluru multiplex are boring. They need a multilayered intellectual joke to laugh. When the heroes make their introductory appearance on the scene, there are no catcalls! But, the movie experience was different in the rapidly growing city of Ernakulam.

In spite of a culturally diverse population, it was easy to get a ticket for Saifeena’s “Kurbaan”! Even though “Padma” theater has been renovated and elevated to a quasi-multiplex status with lesser seats, tickets were readily available on the second day of the release. I ignored all these obvious signs and gave quality of the movie a clean chit. How can this movie go wrong? The posters prominently displayed a bare-backed Kareena trying to hide a bare-fronted Saif.

A lot of things may have changed in “Padma” theater. The first class and second class sections are gone! It has been converted into a restaurant (owned by film actor Dileep). But there are still a few things that have withstood the winds of change – the air conditioning and sound system. The air conditioning still freezes you in 10 minutes and the sound hurts your ear drums from the word “go”.

The joy of movie experience was amplified by the audience avant-garde sitting among the boring family audience. While the family audience watched the movie in a reactive mode, the other set of audience were proactive and took active interest in the movie as soon as the credits started rolling. They shouted and interacted with the various actors – Saif, Kareena, Vivek, Dia, Om and Kirron - appearing on the silver screen. Whenever the actors were in a dilemma on screen, this set of audience suggested solutions loudly.

Finally, it was the actors who played spoil sports. They did not respond to the suggestions. To add to the insult, the actors stuck to their version of script adamantly instead of adapting to the dynamic script written on the fly by these resourceful audience!

It might have been due to the callous and uncaring nature of the actors that the audience avant-garde suggested only sexual acts as part of their script (re)writing. When Saif locks Kareena against the bookshelf inside the empty staffroom of the college in a “I-might-kiss-you-now” position, the audience wanted Saif to use the empty tables scattered around the room. They urged Saif not to stop at a kiss. The audience also had plenty of suggestions for the aging actors – Om and Kirron. When Vivek watches the aircraft carrying his fiancée Dia exploding in mid-air, these audience were sincerely worried. They wanted to know if Vivek-Dia relationship was ever consummated. They could easily have taken a guess for Vivek and Dia played independent professionals living in the tri-state area. But they were not in the mood for guessing games! They followed the wisdom imparted by our learnt. When in doubt, ask!

Foot note:

I was part of the boring unenthusiastic audience.
I vowed to watch only Malayalam and Tamil movies while in Kerala.
I never wrote a movie review because I slept in between the movie.

Picture Courtesy:

Tags: Musings,Ernakulam


  1. haha:)..i have been to Padma, Kavitha, Shenoys, Sangeetha etc.....and i know what u mean by avant-garde audience...

  2. I am going to a theater now to watch london dreams, the crowd here in theaters is great, they just laugh at everything and hoot at everything too!!

  3. Hey, watching movies in Kerala theatres could be real fun. Saying that, it depends on which 'mode' you step in for the movie... as a college-boy, family man or with your girlfriend...Well I don't want to be in the latter two modes ;)

    I like it when the audience involve themselves with the movie. Ever since I saw "Rangeela" with all my schoolmates on a packed theater in Trivandrum, I always loved the festive atmosphere in the hall. I fell asleep while watching Alibhai with my family a couple of years back. Not only because the film was horrendous, but also because the theater was drop-dead silent (perhaps because half of the souls were asleep like me :)) ).

    I've been hearing about Padma and its nouveau features through various forums. Not been to any Cochin theaters except Shenoys.

  4. so u had blissful sleep..hehe..enjoy buddy:)

  5. I had visited and seen a film with my friends in Padma. But I don't remember which film it was...

  6. Sometimes the movie theatre experience more tha makes up for a not-so-interesting movie. Glad to know that you had the hlarious comments of the Padma audience (whose Kolkata equivalent would be the Pradip/Chitrabani audience) to keep you company during Kurbaan.

  7. I like to watch movies in the theatres where people get involved and start fighting along with the heroes. It is a different experience in the multiplexes. The people pay more attention to their popcorns.

  8. @Swatantra - Thanks. :)

    @ZB - :) I have seen other movies in those theaters. But the audience were not as "avant-garde" as my last visit. I was shocked and disappointed!

    @Sujata - Nice. Laughing and hooting is fine with me! It is just nasty comments that should be shared in private being shouted for everyone to hear is an embarassment for me.

    @ScorpioGenius - I slept through Alibhai while watching on DVD! Believe it or not! Next day I woke up and watched the parts where I slept off. :)

    I love going to the theater because it is a better experience. The jokes who would have smiled at home gets amplified because everyone around you is laughing!

    But shouting nasty comments!

    @Ramesh - Not blissful. I did sleep. But it was interrupted too often.

    @Tomz - Was it the new Padma or the old Padma?

    @Sucharita - A correction! Embarrassing comments!

    @Aparna - I know what you mean! Suddenly, there is two sets of soundtrack - one from the movie and the other from the seats nearby. :)

  9. watching movies in the theaters in Kerala and tamil nadu are priceless....In Chennai even girls used to pass worst comments at the theaters :)

  10. @AnishThomas - The Chennai crowd is better. :)


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