Friday, August 22, 2008

Movie Watching Experience at Maratha Mandir Mumbai

In case you're looking for the schedule or show timings or something -- they don't publish it on the net. Maratha Mandir is NOT a multiplex. So enjoy the real retro movie going experience, locate show timings on your local newspaper and drive all the way to the theater wondering all the time if the show is housefull. Yeah, no advance booking either! (Added after noticing and a lot of people were landing on this post looking for show timings. :) )

For those who don't know what Maratha Mandir is, it is the famous movie theater in Mumbai, near Mumbai Central, that has been running DDLJ for nearly 13 years continuously now. The day I went there, the movie was in it's 370th week. But sadly, I was not able to watch this legendary movie in this legendary theater. Instead I watched Bachna Ae Haseeno.

The whole movie watching experience was extremely nostalgic. Maratha Mandir still sticks to its roots. The ticket counters (khidki) are literally windows in the wall with the the ticket vendor sitting in a small cabin behind it. The balcony ticket cost 65 rs. The ticket itself was an unintelligible piece of newsprint in orange color. Other tickets were deep blue in color. The insides of the theater were decorated in the style of rich 70s movies. Glass and wood instead of the modern plastic and aluminum one sees at multiplexes.

As I walked into the hall I realized that they still had those old style seats, the ones which the theater staff folded up after each show. The ticket was so unintelligible that I actually HAD to go to the attendant to know where my seat was. He looked at the ticket with his little torch and then targeted the beam towards my designated seat. I promptly went and sat there. The cinema hall was air conditioned and CLEAN. The national anthem was played before the movie and everyone stood up for it. Then the movie began. People actually whistled when Bipasha Basu came on the screen. Gradually the movie proceeded towards the interval. People came out and had chai, samosa and popcorn. (The samosas sucked big time, by the way.) When I came in I noticed couples in the corner seats. No points for guessing what they were doing when the lights were out. :)

In all, it was a wonderfully nostalgic experience. I don't think I've been to a conventional cinema hall in over four years. (We did that in the first year at college when multiplexes were still a novelty.) I think multiplexes are just too bland and don't offer the rich movie going experience that cinema halls of old used to.


  1. You bet! The crowd in multiplex is too bland to express their true feelings - make a pass, whistle or laugh out-loud. The crowd of good ol'days used to make even the most boring movie appear fun-filled with their all-too-funny remarks! How true is this saying, (keyed-in by me, of course!): Money can buy you movie ticket - with stupid ads posted on the corner - but not the experience of true Masala movie. Alas, the more educated a person gets, the more he looses touch from real life experience.

  2. @ Anon - It also reminds me of the movie watching experience at IITK. IITK students are no better than front benchers and the sleazy atmosphere that prevailed at L7 as even the most chaste movie ran is unforgettable. :P

  3. Check out these pics from cinema halls that a photographer in Mumbai has taken:

  4. Absolutely very well written and very touchingly experienced & explained.
    Thanks to the writer and the people who commented. I'd say very well commented.
    Thanks for the link too.