Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bangalore's dusty theatres

Bangalore's dusty theatres

Y Maheshwara ReddyFirst Published : 13 Mar 2009 12:13:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 13 Mar 2009 11:30:46 AM IST
BANGLAORE: In an age when cine-goers are being weaned away by the multiplexes, the old theatres, especially those screening Kannada movies, are doing themselves a disservice, by not upgrading the facilities. Forget, luxury seats, even hygiene and basic amenities are being given a go-by. This could also be one of the reasons for the number of Kannada movie- watchers going down.
The condition of a majority of theatres on KG Road are a testimony to to the sorry state of affairs.
It seems the exhibitors are interested only in collecting rentals from producers.
Most theatres welcome you with a stench, thanks to the negligence of the managements in ensuring that the cinema halls are properly cleaned before the shows start.
If one happens to come late for the show, locating one’s seat is a Herculean task with only one usher (having a torch) guiding around 500 people to their seats.
“One of my friends told me that he went to watch a movie at a theatre on KG Road. He had to sit on the edge of the seat for twoand- half hours to protect himself from protruding iron springs,” director S V Rajendra Singh Babu said, narrating an incident of theatre inconvenience.
Rodents that have made the theatres their homes are no less a problem. Don’t be surprised if a few of them run all over your feet. One has to take extra caution while watching films at theatres like Nartaki, Sapna, Kapali, Ajantha and Movieland, in this respect.
The difference between AC and non-AC theatres is only in the ticket fares and not in the facilities, say cinegoers. Cinegoers pay Rs 1.50 at AC and Re 1 at non- AC theatres as service tax on each ticket. This money is meant for improving facilities in theatres.
But the truth is, this money is rarely used for maintenance purposes.
The less said the better about the eatables outlets at the theatres.
They get most of the stuff from third rate bakeries, but sell it at a premium. They sell a samosa at Rs 8 to Rs 10 and a 250 ml bottle of Sprite or Pepsi for Rs 15, more than their actual price. “Earlier, efforts had been made to regulate the prices of eatables, but in vain,” says H D Gangaraj, former president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.
The toilets in the theatres are filthy and no special effort is made to maintain hygiene.
There are even instances of sex workers from Majestic area, visiting theatres where the crowd is less. More often than not they occupy a seat beside men sitting alone. The men usually oblige their demand for money, lest the sex workers create a scene. Theatres do not even have staff in place, to check the entry of such people.


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