Monday, July 20, 2009
Why watching Harry Potter in Mumbai is so bleh-blahh!
Part of watching a game in the stadium or doing yoga in a group or sitting in a satsang or watching a play at the theater or sitting in a music concert or going to a movie is the contributing factor of the group energy. The group, its collective appreciation, adds something to the whole experience. Comparable to or even better than having popcorn while watching an entertainer or wearing a good swimsuit when the body is toned:) It sort of completes the experience in a subtle but definite and powerful way.
Which is why it is always, for me, extremely disappointing to watch good films in Mumbai. Perhaps it is because of where I live -- Thakur village -- a place where English is really a foreign language. Where even teachers make the gaffe of calling kids, "ChildrenS!". Or perhaps, it is because the collective attention span of the average Mumbaikar is so limited that they cannot watch a film whose main strength may be its lines. Visual films make a bit hit here, I notice. However, if while attending a great visually strong film which also has super lines and you desperately wish for someone else to cackle along with you -- as while watching Shrek or Ice Age -- then you are a wishing for the impossible.
For instance, the latest Ice Age had so many great one-liners, what you may even call `Adult' jokes. However, the only time I caught even the teenagers laughing was at those slapstick moments intended to tickle the toddlers. When the toddlers laugh at those clownish pranks, everybody else is laughing!! But when those great one-liners intended to explode your funny bone roll off the screen, no one is laughing!! I remember the same thing at Shakespeare in Love -- feeling somehow of being in the minority appreciating those marvellous ageless lines as they rolled off the lips of the actors....
During Harry Potter, mid-way, you could hear most people talking loudly amongst themselves. Or making loud calls on their cell-phones.
Even the luxurious scenes of the film could not hold them, because most seemed not to follow or understand or bother to follow the film. The film had lost them. But since it was in the rave, must-see list people are going to say they saw it and how great it was.
Though this blog does sound snobbish about that sort of behavior, that is not the intention. It is just an expression of disappointment, that as a rule, since I have known it in Mumbai, only slapstick, or loud films seem to make an impact. That way, if you long for group enthusiasm in a cinema hall -- forget it. You might as well be the only one munching popcorn and having a great time watching a great film. But you cannot even make-believe that way, to shut out the rest of crowd. Because everybody else is determindedly ruining that for you, by walking about, desperately ordering samosas, or mobile-phoning away as if they were in an open park ....