Last Sunday we spent the evening at Rex Cinema in Brigade Road in Bangalore. A good friend of ours recommended us to go there since he claimed that there is where you can live the real “Indian cinema experience”.
The whole “experience” thing was a little exciting since he pointed that people can get very emotional like whistling, yelling and cheering when the movie stars come to scene, do something heroic or things like this. I didn’t know what to expect, but anyway, for professional reasons I have to be aware of what middle class Indians do in their spare time, so I decided to come. It’s my job…
After buying the tickets you wait outside, kind of in the park lot, where there is a kiosk with a variety of snacks. The place is so typical Indian that of course they don’t have Hot Dogs or Nachos as it would be totally normal in the West. Anyway, why should I expect the same things that I can get in my country? then why would I want to travel and learn about new cultures, right?
In any case, it is still quite interesting to see samosas, masala popcorn and other Indian stuff in the snack bar. But I couldn’t resist though asking for my hot dog and nachos just to confuse the guys at the counter who had no clue what I was talking about (sorry for that!)
Once you decide to go only for a bottle of water, the next thing is waiting for the film to start. You notice it is time to get in when you see people crowding in the door’s entrance to get into the theater OR hear a guy announcing that the doors are now open… (Whatever happens first, even though seats are numbered)…
The film we saw was Agneepath and it was in Hindi. The fact of not understanding the language is interesting because I was able to focus more on the emotions than in catching what the story was about (although you kind of get the idea). So since I cannot judge the story, I will just point out some keywords I wrote down on my cellphone in preparation for this blog post to express what the film was making me feel: Passion of the Christ, Rambo, Religion, Emotional… and long… damn bloody (forgive me Lord for I am swearing)… LONG.
To picture the different range of emotions that the film takes you into, try going from very deep emotional suffering of the protagonist, to the joy of Indian traditions, colors, religion, to the evil guy in the film, to heroic scenes that makes Rambo look like a children’s comic character. . . and dancing… lots of dancing… six singing and dancing scenes to be precise… I mean half an hour of just dancing in a 2:35 hrs long film.
Other interesting aspect was the reinforcement of religion. In one of the scenes they pay tribute to Ganesha, a deity claimed to be the “remover of obstacles” in Hindi traditions. I wouldn’t know exactly how to picture this, but I can say it is definitively different than the classic silly American hero saving the world in the name of God…
And this last one in particular is already a huge win of Indian cinema vs. Hollywood…even if you can’t stand long musical films…
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I just saw my first Bollywood film over the weekend and had a very similar experience! We thought about seeing “Agneepath” but my friends decided we should see a romantic one instead in honor of Valentine’s Day. I also cannot speak Hindi but I found the storyline exceptionally easy to follow, but it was long. Very, very long. There was even an Interval halfway through the film, I had never experienced that before!
Anyways, I enjoyed your post, hope you’re having a good time in Bangalore!