Size Does Matter!

In times when the world is witnessing a tectonic shift towards all things small and wonderful, let us be thankful for one ‘large blessing’. In other words, something that would be ruined, or would lose its relevance or beauty – at least, large amounts of the two – had it not been grand in scale.

Last week, as I watched Jodhaa Akbar and The Lord of the Rings on the idiotically small box (sometimes known as the television), I finally realised why large screen theatres could never quite be wiped out even though large phones, houses, computer chips and even cars have mostly fallen out of fashion. The television, including those very large screen LCD plasma-amoeba-and-what-not televisions can never quite delight viewers as much as the big screen of a good old movie hall. Maybe it is the absence of visual splendour; but that would not quite be the answer since modern day TV screens are capable of displaying stunning colours and visual depth. Perhaps it is the sound; but no, modern-day home theatres are capable of reproducing sounds with electrifying clarity. On a more flippant note, it cannot even be the seats – at home we have the choice of choosing our own original, warped postures. Therefore, comfort wouldn’t really count. So, what then do movie halls have to offer that a home well-equipped with the latest HD Plasma TV and home theatre cannot?

The answer, I reckon, is the ambience that is created by the presence of an overwhelmingly large screen. Unbelievable action sequences, larger-than-life heroes and stunning landscapes seem infinitely more awing and enjoyable in a theatre than at home. Some of the more innovative movie-lovers try to darken their TV rooms in the vain hope of creating a ‘movie experience.’ They sadly fail because a TV inevitably tends to hurt the eyes in a dark room when viewed over a prolonged stretch of time, even after being equipped with the latest technologies ‘guaranteed’ to reduce eye-strain.

With the coming of multiplexes, however, the much-famed ambience of Indian movie-halls is perhaps on the decline. As far as I am concerned, single-screen halls have much more to offer in terms of ambience since the audience is more varied. Somehow, multiplexes simply cannot conjure up the atmosphere of near-jubilation of cycle-rickshaw – and auto-wallahs dancing and singing ‘Kajra Re’ in tune with the Bachchans prancing on the screen. ‘Sophisticated’, high-society people may well turn up their noses and turn their backs to such halls but the truth remains that the real, desi pleasure of watching a Bollywood, and sometimes Hollywood, movie lies in small towns in small single-screen theatres.

But more importantly, single-screen or multiplex, the big screen cannot be matched when it comes to proving an enjoyable movie viewing experience. Call it size, grandeur, colours, ambience. There may not be just one reason for the uniquely wonderful experience of a movie-hall but the truth is that there is one conclusion: for once, size matters and big is definitely more wonderful than small.

Those who missed Jodhaa Akbar, The Lord of the Rings and the like in theatres have missed the treats of a lifetime. Plot or no plot, films such as these are worth watching in a theater simply for the sheer pleasure of a wholesome ‘movie experience’ that one pines for in darkened TV rooms. But of course, there is no denying the fact that it would be better to partake of RGV’s Aag on the TV.

Because basically, the idiot box is meant for viewing idiotic farces, not movies.

Shubhodeep Pal

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