People leave a theatre after watching a movie (Representational movie) Image Credit: AP

Do you feel nostalgic watching old movies? Do you watch some movies repeatedly? Do you love watching movies in theatres?

Watching movies on full screen is always exhilarating. Being seated early is necessary. Primarily, I wouldn’t want to miss the ads that come at the beginning of the movie. Moreover, if we get delayed, we must move across occupied seats and could accidentally step on someone’s foot, us whispering excusez-moi’s and them shooting enraged stares.

Around the movie halls, drifting in the air would be the delicious aroma of freshly popped popcorn and other snacks. Whether you have already had your food or not, there is always a never-ending hunger for popcorn. The wide screen, the stereos, the sound effects, the acoustics, the audience, their reactions to the scenes, it is all an amazing experience.

When I was young, I used to live in India, we had a black and white TV at home. Sundays were movie days. We would finish our homework and would be ready for the movie. As children we always used to look forward to Sundays.

It was as though we were waiting for a guest and sometimes even our neighbours would join us to watch a famous movie. We would be ready with lots of ice cream, chips and homemade snacks. All of us would sit in front of the TV, devouring the snacks and enjoying the movie.

Later in Dubai, channel 33 would telecast Hindi movies on Thursday nights. We used to drag a mattress to our drawing room and watch the movie while lying on it. When there is a movie there is popcorn! Many nights we would just doze off in front of the TV without finishing the movie.

But that was the era of VCRs, where one could record the movies on a videocassette. We even used to exchange our recorded video tapes with our neighbours. Those days, we had video libraries, where one could get movie cassettes on rent and return them after a few days. We enjoyed watching numerous movies this way but sometimes we would yearn for good prints.

There was a sudden surge in the number of channels provided by cable TV, with innumerable options to watch from channels showing soaps, cartoons, movies, documentaries, news, etc.

The transition from CDs to flash drives to apps like Netflix or Prime was much faster. We still like to watch movies at home, munching on some snacks, but the feel is quite different. Though it is from the convenience of our home, the joy of watching movies in a theatre is a wholesome experience. The booking, going to the theatre, the thrill, the experience and finally the movie; is one complete package.

Watching movies with friends is an altogether unique experience. We would be whispering, laughing and even get emotional with some scenes in the movie. Our movie group would meet over breakfast to discuss, dissect, and analyse the movie, the theme, the acting, the storyline, and the direction.

Theatres that are 3D, 4D and I-max have special effects like water sprinklers, wind, and light effects and even a moving chair. Some of these special effects are breath taking and mesmerising.

Although these days, we even have the home theatre system with all the effects of a theatre, I miss those old days where we would eagerly wait for that ‘ONE’ movie that would be relayed with so many ads in between. Having so many options fizzle out the excitement and eagerness to watch good movies.

We in fact waste time browsing. Sometimes at home because of too many options on Netflix or prime, everybody watches different movies all by themselves. To each his own!

While watching movies at home, we pause, we have interruptions, and sometimes just do not finish. Whereas at a theatre, together, we watch the full movie.

Due to the pandemic, many people of course stopped going to the theatres and watched only at home. Now after the vaccinations; the theatres have opened again. We have again started watching movies at theatres and I am sure very soon it will be like it was earlier.

Carpe diem! Watch a movie at the theatre!

Anuradha Sharma is a freelancer based in Abu Dhabi