Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Mom and Dad walked out of Plaza cinema 22 years ago

Back in 1985, Mom and Dad had just shifted to New Delhi. The capital's hectic pace of life didn't suit them at first and they looked for ways to maintain an umbilical link with their native state of Kerala.

A casual glance at a newspaper column one morning brought the welcome news that a new Malayalam film was playing at the Plaza cinema in Connaught Place. As you can imagine, my parents were overjoyed and promptly drove down to the hall.

Mom was a bit disconcerted to find the cinema theatre nearly empty. But that was nothing compared to her surprise at seeing a Sikh gentleman occupying one of the seats nearby.

"Must be a film critic," mumbled Mom. "Why else would he be interested in a Malayalam film?"

"There would be subtitles...He can understand it that way," said Dad.

The mystery was solved when the film started and a woman started disrobing on screen. And my parents realised that they, the Sikh gentleman and a few other men were watching what can only be described as a softcore porn flick.

"He didn't need subtitles," said Mom - a few minutes after my parents had slunk out of the hall and into the parking lot.

"And that's certainly not a family film," she added.

The film's name - which roughly translated to 'Family is Heaven' - had not given my parents any clues about its content. But they did learn one thing. That morning shows in Delhi theatres were not for the family.

P.S. Two decades later, things have changed. The refurbished PVR Plaza is no longer a haven for voyeurs and morning shows are usually reserved for family films. But Mom still makes it a point to check the Adult 'A' listing before venturing into theatres.

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