Saturday, April 11, 2015

Why I Would Never Go to Majayaal Again

I realised it's been ages since I wrote anything funny. I mean, mildly funny. I have been writing serious stuff. About childhood memories and why Padukone kept yelling, "My choice!" and all that. So, I have decided to write about a series of strange things that happened yesterday. They were frustrating, yet funny in some ways.

Disclaimer: Everything you read here is true, and definitely not a figment of my imagination. Thank you.

At 3.45 pm yesterday, I left home to watch Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkiradhu at Mayajaal. The multiplex is 14 kilometers away from my place. But, the ride was great. It wasn't too hot. It was pleasantly windy. I liked the evening sun. About 10 minutes into my smooth ride, I wanted to post a status on Facebook. Some cliche like, "Wind in the hair..." Then, I remembered, I was wearing a helmet. And, I have promised to a friend that I won't check my phone, while riding. So, I halfheartedly dropped the idea. It took just about 25 minutes to reach Mayajaal. I was sad that the ride ended. I wanted to go longer. Maybe, till Mahabalipuram. But I had work to do - reviewing Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkiradhu. Sigh!

Till I reached the theatre, I wasn't sure if the film would release. I was told that the show might be cancelled. Because, only five tickets were sold. I went to the counter, and asked an employee, "Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkiradhu show irukka?" She was nervous for reasons that I couldn't comprehend. Women usually think I am a man, and maintain one-arm distance from me. But, I was wearing a kurta yesterday. A kurta that women wear. However, the employee was still nervous. "Enna padam madam?" she asked. Man, why would anybody give such a LONG title to a movie. I said the film's name again. She became more nervous, turned to her colleague, and asked, "Annan, andha Bobby Singhaa padam odudhaa?" The lean man at the next counter shot an incredulous look at me. "Andha padama?" he laughed. "Odudhu. Odudhu. Ponga. Ponga," he said, stifling a giggle. I don't like when people laugh and refuse to say what made them laugh. "Madam, thaniyaa paakireengala?" the girl asked. When I nodded, the young man said, "Appo, enjoy pannunga!" I didn't ask tickets for Paapa Potta Thaapaa or something no? I had no fucking clue about why they laughed. I snatched my ticket from them, and rushed to Screen 14.

The owners of Mayajaal don't like Screen 14, I suppose. It's hidden in a corner, and the hall smelt of every bad stuff I couldn't name. Cinema halls in Mayajaal usually smell bad. Every once in a while, rats say hello. But, Screen 14 was the most deplorable.

I was 10 minutes early. Unlike Sathyam Cinema, adverts are not screened at Mayajaal. Watching jewellery ads that throw pompous ass words at you, is a lot better than seeing a dark room. I began to hear rats screeching. I was sure that bugs were making their way into my bag. People started coming in. There were about 15 people in the theatre. And, a couple dropped themselves in the seats beside me. Their adventures began.

She removed her dupatta, carefully folded it, and put it in her bag. They placed their helmet and bags next to my feet. It was still dark, and I heard the first strange noise. Pichuk. Then I heard more. Pichuk. Pichooook. Such loud kissers! When the sound reached its crescendo, I turned, and saw them over my shoulders. I didn't throw an accusatory glance. I promise! I was plainly curious. Without warning, the hall was lit, because "Enna dhaan aachu nam naatukku..." was screened. The man, who removed his hand from a spot that I choose not to name (sorry to keep you guessing!), shook his head like questioning me. "Neengellam idhu panna maateengala?" he asked. I ignored his question, and looked at the screen. There was no noise afterwards, but my chair shook. Several times. I couldn't complain.

Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkiradhu was so directionless, as though the director, who had multiple stories in mind, was indecisive about which one he wanted to film, and ended up including a bit from every story. It was random. So random like reading the text on a paper that we use to remove oil from bajjis. I was beginning to feel slightly upset for watching a dud again. That's when someone's phone rang.

It wasn't kasamusa couple's. (I think they were tired of making love. So, they chose to watch the film for a while.) The phone belonged to a man, who sat behind me. Before answering the phone, I heard him say, "Ayyo, machi, wife phone panra da. Enna soltum. Padathukku vanthurukkennu avalukku theriyadhu." His friend offered a sage advice. "Meeting-la irukkey-nu message pannu." Till the time they arrived at a suitable decision, the man didn't think of silencing the phone. It kept ringing. I am sure it was a Korean phone. Kalyaana Maalai Kondaadum Penne... was the ringtone. The man was probably ignoring his 'Gowri'. Shit, for once, I wasn't ashamed of myself for eavesdropping. But no! They were really loud.

The couple next to me seemed okay for a while. I settled comfortably to watch the film, although it was shitty.

Then, it was time for a break. The couple went out and came back with puffs, black-forest cakes... a handful of snacks. I think they do everything in excess. Okay. Never mind! The men, who sat behind me discussed, "Machi, oru dhummu dhaanda irukku. Seri, share vuttukklaam!" Their public display of mustafa-mustafa seemed a bit too much. But, everything appeared normal. Finally, I thought I could watch the second half in peace. In a second, I was taught that it was too much to expect.

A brawl broke out.

The couple stopped munching the snacks, the mustafa boys stopped discussing their wives, and two more couples, who were ensconced in corners sat straight. "Otha, naanum paakuren, darru burrunu korattai vidra..." scowled a man in one of the front rows. He was livid, and employed beautiful Tamil swear words. And, he sounded admirably natural, when he uttered those words. "Olagatha marakkanumnu dhaan inga vaarom... Ingaiyum vandhu, summa darru burrunu korattai vittugunu..." he scolded his neighbour, who was still half-asleep. Bobby Simhaa was on screen again. But, the men were oblivious to it. The angry man was more pissed because the sleepy man didn't apologise. "Manners therdha unugu?" he asked. Finally, the sleepy man chose to speak. "Naan enna darru burrunu kusu vuttu naasthi pannena..." The angry man became angrier. "Oh! Otha, adhu vera pannuviya nee? Koopduba andha ticket kizhikkara paiyana..." he told his friend. Bobby Simhaa was shedding buckets of tears in the film. The men didn't want to think of that sad man on screen. The war of words went on for a long while. The usher came in.

"Koratta vuttugune irukaanba ivan," said the angry man. The usher - a young boy - couldn't manage the situation. "Anna anna please na! Vutrungana!" he beseeched. The snorer was silent, and the angry man was still furious. However, something changed his mood. Maybe, it was the poor face of the usher. "Ayyo! Panjaayathukku ivana koopta ivan nammala edho vuda solraan. Thambi, adhu dhaan prechanai. Ivan over-ah vudraan..." Those 15 people in the theatre, including yours truly, burst out laughing. The sleepy man was later asked to vacate his seat.

And... and... and... he sat right beside me.

He went back to slumber, and rendered a snore-song. Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varverkiradhu was getting more terrible, and so, the couple went back to doing what they liked doing. He snored more. My chair shook harder. And, I couldn't endure that shit anymore. So, I got up and sat in another seat. I could still hear somebody snore. I leaned forward and found the angry man now snoring away to glory. I wanted to borrow his words. "Otha, appo enna mayithukku da sanda poteenga!"

An hour later, I bumped into that couple at the parking lot. They ignored me. But, I will never forget them. As he unlocked the bike, the man said, "Kovalam polama? Anga innum konjam privacy irukkum." I was like, "Innuma!"

So, they went South to do more stuff. And, I went North, with a puzzling thought on mind: Which weird soornam or laigyam could motivate a couple to that level! They couldn't wait to reproduce another India, man!

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