Memories of the Movie Theatre: A boomer looks back on the bigness of the big screen

Posted on April 19, 2020


This April, we are doing a series on… craving for something we can’t have right now: Going to the movies. We write about our most memorable cinema hall experiences.

It was August 1986. Don’t quote me on this, but I think the exact spot I was standing on was outside the McRennett on Mount Road. I used to love that place. It was near school, and every time the door opened, you’d get the smell of hot vegetable puffs. That was a time the “veg puff” was a thing. So anyway, here I was, in utter anxiety. I was waiting to cross the road (the divider did not exist back then), race across Peter’s Road, and get to Sathyam theatre. I had a ticket for the 6.30 screening of Subhash Ghai’s newest film, Karma. Yes, I said “a ticket” — as in, one ticket. Even then, even in school, film-watching was never a thing you did with others.

I was getting impatient. I got crazy. I did some insane mental arithmetic about the speed of oncoming buses versus the distance I had to cross, and I just made a dash for it. I still hear the whizz of a bus whistling past me, behind me. Had I miscalculated a bit, I might have been a chubby splotch on the road. I made it to the film, but I recall this incident because it’s what movies meant to me, what movies still mean to me. There’s a craziness that kicks in, a good kind of crazy I think — though some readers may not agree. I think the point is that the movie theatre has always been a refuge, the calm in all storms.

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