It was going to be just like old times (ancient times if truth be told…but really I don’t want to be that honest): Another Batman movie, a bike ride to a cinema hall (and not one of those multiplexes), maybe grab a bite at Friends Home or a roll from Nizam. What fun!
As per plan (like old times), I took a shuttle auto to Hazra More. (Found out that the auto stops much before the "more" and it is quite a walk to it). A hair raising (never quite got the hang of it) crossing the road to the other side, where I waited in front of Ashutosh College for my cousin B to come by on his bike. A flyover has been the only addition to the otherwise straight route to SN Bannerjee road. I found on my first bike ride in 7 years that I had lost the hang of it. Actually it’s the advancing years…I was petrified…kept imagining a car would rush in from a side road and hit us or the bike would skid on a pothole and we’d come under the wheels of a bus etc. And in the process, missed out on the lazy, relaxed air of a Kolkata Sunday (this is really something to be savored).
The hall was more or less as I remembered it. In those old days, New Empire and Lighthouse were our first choice, followed by Elite, Chaplin, rarely at Roxy and almost never at Tiger. But things have changed. "Does anyone go there anymore?", was the common reaction from quite a few people. As it turned out there were quite a few people but not house full. The tickets were cheap at 80/-. The hall was as I remembered it: Enormous, icing sugar pink walls, maroon ruched curtains, mildly seedy air, non-reclining seats and vendors of popcorn coming in with trays selling Chips with a sibilant Cheeeeeeeeeepsssssssssss.
The seats wre non-reclining, the audio was bad and video dark. But somehow, it all added positively to the Dark Knight which was overall a dark film: The gist of this convoluted sentence is that the Dark Knight became really DARK. Yes we all knew how disturbing and menacing and different and far from funny the new joker was. But till you saw it here, you'd never know just how much!! The Hollywood bosses should watch the Dark Knight here.
My knees hurt badly after being cramped on the non-reclining seats for the nearly 3 hour long movie. Thrice during the film, I thought that the film was over only to find out that there was more explosions and glass shatterings. Wobbly knees, hazy eyesight and hearing, we walked out and after another hair raising ride, grabbed some momos and returned home.
Yes it was like "old times" and not very like the when-I-was-Young times I was trying to re-capture!