Opinion

Sorry state of movie-watching in India

Movie watching is unquestionably better in theaters. You could have the best home theater system but it couldn’t possibly compare with a experience of even a half decent theater. Besides, some things are just better when watched with a crowd.

But there are more things than just a big screen and sound system that contribute to a movie watching experience and in India it feels like people are actively trying to make the experience worse for you and give more reasons to sit at home and pirate the movie.

First there is the dipshit censor board of India, which seems like it is comprised entirely of Alok Nath. It is probably the only system of its kind in the world dumb enough to give an adult rating to a movie and then remove everything from it that would earn it the adult rating. When not deleting scenes, the fuckers are putting idiotic anti-smoking messages big enough to cause eye cancer. It is one of the reasons why I choose not to watch A-rated movies in theaters because I know all the good stuff is not going to be there despite paying the full amount for it.

Many of the theaters also have subtitles these days. I’m not sure exactly who needs English subtitles in an English movie. Perhaps it is for those with hearing disability. Meanwhile, those with a working pair of eyes are supposed to go fuck themselves. The movie I watched today – Guardians of the Galaxy – also had subtitles, with some of the words being censored. Words like, and I shit you not, ‘idiot’. Meanwhile, there were plenty of dick jokes that were okay. And this was just in the subtitles, not in the actual audio. Once again we see our brilliant censor board at work, a group of people so acutely daft they collectively drop the IQ of the entire galaxy by existing.

The movie was 3D, which brings me to the state of 3D glasses. I’m personally okay with 3D itself and I actually enjoy well-implemented 3D, which a lot of movies have these days. What I hate are glasses that are so scratched they make every movie look like World War I footage. I don’t know if people use their boners to clean their glasses but they are almost always scratched beyond repair. I don’t blame people; most of them are dumb fucks who can’t tell their ass from their elbow but I expect the theaters to maintain the glasses and discard the ones that are scratched. These things look like they cost 5 rupees to make and the fuckers still reuse them again and again till the lenses probably dissolve from all that wiping. You literally see the movie through these things. Using damaged glasses is like putting a damaged lens on the projector.

Don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness of making people stand for the national anthem. I don’t know what this forced show of patriotism achieves. All it does is make me hate my country even more. If you have to force people to respect something, it’s probably not worth respecting anyway.

Today I watched a movie that was cropped. We could see the top and bottom portion of the frame were cut off. This was in INOX at InOrbit, Malad. They were literally showing the movie in the wrong aspect ratio. If I knew before, I’d have paid only 70% of the amount for being able to see only 70% of each frame in the movie.

Then there was that time in IMAX, Wadala while watching ‘Godzilla’ when the theater had the door open for the first half an hour of the movie to let the people coming in see the way. The sunlight coming in lit up one third of the screen and made it hard to see what was going on for those of us unfortunate enough to arrive on time.

Shit like this is what makes people stay at home and pirate the movies. Unfortunately, the people who make the movies aren’t to blame for any of the above but invariably suffer due to the shitty people who stand between them and us.

Update

After I wrote this post yesterday, I got one of the usual emails from INOX thanking me for watching the movie and to send an email if I have any feedback. Usually I delete these emails or ignore them but today I decided to send a mail to the provided address. This is what I sent them.

I watched ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ at one of your theaters yesterday. It was at InOrbit Mall, Malad. I was disappointed to see that the film was cropped. We could clearly see the top and bottom of the frame were being cropped out and only the center portion was being displayed. Why would you not show a film that matched the aspect ratio of your screen instead of cropping a different film is beyond me but it frustrated me greatly. 

The glasses you give at your theater are also terrible. Most of them are scratched beyond belief and are unusable. They don’t look very expensive and one would think would get replaced more frequently but you people seem to be reusing them several times at the cost of the viewing experience.

Also, your seats are terrible. Even at the most expensive ticket price, the seats are incredibly uncomfortable. You should visit a PVR sometime and see what kind of seats they have.

Overall, very disappointed. Would think twice before visiting another INOX again.

About couple of hours later, I got a call from someone at INOX. He asked me about the screen issue, which I described to him. He told me it was an issue with the film they received and that they are working to get it fixed. I also told him I noticed that the film certificate said ‘IMAX’ on it even though it was not an IMAX theater, which simultaneously amused and impressed him somehow as he didn’t expect anyone to pay attention to that. He said the certificate is downloaded separately and used with the film and it was the wrong one they used.

As for the glasses, he said all the glasses have been replaced in the theater with new one. I can’t verify that but if someone happens to visit INOX Malad you can check it out for yourself.

I was also asked about the general service in the theater. Moreover, he told me to save his number and contact him if I needed any tickets or have any issues in future. He even said he’d like to meet sometime and make up (not sure how) for the poor experience.

I think this was worth mentioning. I didn’t expect anyone to get back to me regarding the email, let alone call me back and offer what I thought was a fairly satisfactory response. So it seems things are not so bad after all.

Also, if you have a bad experience, you should ideally inform someone. Who knows, someone might get back to you and your feedback will result in some actual improvement, not just for you but for others as well.