Jun 15, 2008

En Iniya Thamizh Makkale (aka) The Dasavathaaram Experience

I have had some bad experiences in seeing movies but I have never had a bad experience and ended up not seeing the movie. But now I have that too. I went with my friends to the Dasavathaaram screening at Cincinnati. From my previous experiences of seeing tamil movies at Columbus, Ohio I knew that the movie screening would be poorly organized: the movie will start at least 20 minutes late every time, the tickets will be overbooked and the organizer, in order to make the most profit, will rent the cheapest theater in town which would have an audio system as good as a 20W Logitech desktop speakers bought at a Thanksgiving sale and a picture quality as vivid as a camera print. And I also knew that we have to be early to get good seats as all fellow movie watchers would be our dear thamizhargal who would rush into the theater once the door opens and pandemonium would ensue.

So we arrived about 30 minutes early for the 6PM show and promptly found ourselves waiting in a queue that did not seem to move at all. And then 6PM came and went and 15 mins past 6 PM we were still standing outside the theater. One guy said 'potti innum varala' (meaning the film reel has not come yet). But another guy said the theater is already full as they have over booked it. I already told my friends that these fools would do that but this was not an ordinary over booking. There were about 40 people still standing outside with tickets for the show (which we bought through Sulekha.com). An American lady was collecting the online receipts and issuing tickets to enter the theater. She said the theater is full and we can sit on the aisles or at the back. Some people who were ahead of me started asking about refund to which she said the organizer is the one who is responsible for that as she is only the theater personnel and organizer is the one who has the money. And of course, that organizer was not to be found anywhere in the vicinity of the theater.

We first got the tickets and went inside the theater to see how its like inside. It was a dollar theater (a theater that screens movies that released months back for a dollar or so) having second rate seats, narrow aisles, dim lighting, speakers hanging from the walls well above the heads of those who got seats at the end of the rows, and a screen that was slightly brighter than a bioscope. I got frustrated and decided to come out as I did not want to stand and watch a movie because of some dumb ass to whom I paid $16. That organizer still had not turned up and nobody knew of his whereabouts. Not even the theater managers. So I went back inside the theater and stood with others at the back. It was about 6.30PM and still they were showing slides about coca-cola's rewards and 'please switch off your cell phones' for the 100th time. My friends said we will just shout and enjoy ourselves for the money paid.
I always enjoy every second of watching movies in theaters: the big screen, the DTS audio system, plush seats etc.,. When I was a kid I always made sure that I was inside Udhayam theater before the curtains rose inside just before the trailers are played. And later on I always went to the theater early enough to see all Prince jewellery and Vicco turmeric ads. So for me seeing movie standing at the back with dozen other people with some sitting near my feet is impossible. Added to that is a pathetic audio system and an equally pathetic screen. And so I went out again to see if this nincompoop of an organizer has turned up. This time he did and there was a small crowd of people around him. We shouted at him to refund the money.

There are some people who are too soft natured to even voice when being trampled upon. There were such people ahead of me who were asking, ' enna saar ipdi aiduchu? padam paakalaam nu wife elaam kootindu vandhen saar'. And then another guy who was closest to the organizer and waving his ticket at him for a refund said told others.' lets form a line so that we can be organized and we can get the refund easily'. Immediately two people said,' aama sar you are correct lets form a line and approach him one by one'. There are some times I lose my patience and shout at anybody and this was one such moment. I belllowed at the first person,' Yov ozhungaa organize panni padam kaamichaanganaa namba yenyaa ipdi gumbalaa vandhu nikanum. enamo organized la line la poi pesalaam nu solra?' Two people put ching-chak for what I said also and said 'yaya what you are saying is also correct'. Then some more people got angry and shouted at the organizer and he accepted to refund the ticket cost and he did that immediately. People who were before me were getting money from him as if they were labourers getting daily wages from company boss and said 'Thank you sir'. This angered me even more. So when my turn came I asked him in a high voice, "What the hell did you over book it for? Did you think you were selling tickets for Greyhound bus so that you can have another bus running if all passengers turn up?". He immediately drew a long face and replied in horrible english,' No saar. This people you know what they did? They bought tickets for 1PM show which was telugu version. Ticket is only $12 for telugu show. They brought that receipt now and got tickets and went in. So half the people inside are now people with tickets for noon show'.
Me: ' What the hell? Wont you check while getting the receipts from them?
Organizer: No saar. I was bringing film roll to theather and got lost and arrived 30 minutes late. By that time the American lady from the theater office admitted all people in without knowing they have come with tickets for noon show. All people want to see Kamal movie but wont want to pay more than 12 for it. What can I do saar? Also I see 12 people who got refund for tickets now going back into the theater for seeing the movie.
Me: (I blew my fuse at this reply) Yov, when people like me are shouting at you for $15 why dont you go and kick outside the people who cheated you for hundreds of dollars?
Organizer: (Just drawing his face longer and giving a dying dog look and not saying anything)
I decided I am not going to allow myself to be pushed over the edge of sanity and came off.

So my dear thamizh makkale. I know we are all cut throats. But now I realize that we are no better even if we are thousands of miles away from Thamizh naadu. We still would be same.
Vaazhga thamizargal, valarga India.


Filarial June 16, 2008 at 10:46:00 AM EDT  

ahaaa .. iniya Thamizh makkale thaan..:D remember satyrajs speech that i saw at your house man-

Gandhi said - if we take an eye for an eye everybody will be blind in this world-- and yet tamilians are the wonly ppl who are keeping to Gandhi's ideals..:D:D

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