Me and Cinema - Part 1  

Posted by Vee

When I first watched Cinema Paradiso, I could not believe it. I saw initial days of my life there. For uninitiated Cinema Paradiso in essence would be a story of an eight or nine year old boy who is fascinated with behind the screen happenings at a theater. Loading the reels, focusing, aligning and projecting enthralled him.

The first ever movie (that I remember) I watched in a theater was Silsila (Amitabh-Rekha-Jaya) from the projector room. I remember standing on the stool and peeping through a hole to see a big screen of an open theater. Soon, I came out and stood in the lobby next to the projector room. I was mesmerized. I wish I knew the word love then.

My father worked for Indian Air Force. Those days almost every defense unit (Army, Air Force or Navy) had a mini-theater or an open theater. When he was transferred to Air Force Station Rajokri (Delhi) from Air Force Station Jodhpur (Rajasthan) I was three years old. He was given the charge of an open theater. My mother tells me that technically my first movie was Rocky (Sanjay Dutt) when she carried me along with my twin brother for the first ever screening under my father’s supervision. Of course, I do not remember. However, I saw Rocky much later, bought the DVD and see it once in a while out of ‘missed’ nostalgia. So, Silsila it was, and the coincidence is both these movies were released the year I was born (1981).

I entertained my father’s colleague with an enthusiastic dance whenever ‘Rang Barse’ came on the screen. I saw the last two shows back to back daily for three days, making it six viewing of Silsila in three days. Thereafter, almost all movies had at least three viewings by me.

There were no Fridays release decrees in the Air Force. It was two different movies in a week regulation. Every Tuesday a movie would release which will run for three days and Friday another movie was screened that went till Monday. I was hooked to it. Most of the times the movie would get screened six months after their India release (this I got to know much later) as prints were not directly available to the defense units in those days. Elders knew but no one cared. Defense people were by and large known to be cut off from the world then. There were no updates on new releases anywhere whatsoever which a child could get hand on. I got into a mild depression thinking how I was cheated with the fact that I am the privileged one to see a movie the moment it is made is a different story. I was thinking people who made movies knew my father and are sending those reels directly to him to screen it.

Nevertheless, I also realized I have had an experience of a lifetime. I could touch those reels, feel them, could pause the various stages of the movie right in my hand. I wasn’t allow to load the reel or fiddle with the projector as per my father’s strict orders to his employees but I did start the projector, positioned the focusing light through the hole and adjusted it accordingly on the screen whenever father was away with the help of his subordinate. I spent my time after school drifting around in theater than playing with my friends. I did play few sports but I was a better spectator of them.

The seeds of frenzy for cinema were sown.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .

43 Pointless but Viscous Comments.

Wowie.. this is great. I have only looked longingly at the projector room, never entered. I guess your apetite for multiple viewings of a movie was whetted right then !

what a lovely childhood! I'm jealous :-)


Wow Vee, it sure would've been amazing. I remember, a friend of mine used to own a theatre so whenever we used to go there to watch a movie, I used to feel so honoured and previliged to be able to enter the Projector room.

Pure nostalgia...

Now I know why you're such a filmi keeda...

No wonder ur such a movie freak. Good experience. Ur lucky.


Nuovo cinema paradiso also invoked deep buried sense of nostalgia in me as well...not strictly in the sense of watching movies but the friendship between the kid and the old man. Brought back sweet memories.

As I said, one of your best posts :-)

There is a sweetness which I never knew existed in you :-) Just kidding :P

You reminded me of my days, when we were in Gorakhpur we too used to have similar kind of screening in clubs...alag hi maza ata tha.

Mujhe to yaad bhi nahin meri 1st movie kaun si thi :))

PS Am getting exploding mangoes for a steal :D

woah.. beautiful post! I remember to puting my hand in front of the very low projectors once to make shapes with my hand until I got shouted at!

Now we know the reason behind the passion for movies. Good post there, Vee!:-)

How sweet! Glad you liked and saw "cinema paradiso" considering the moview fan you are... I actually loved it...

Silsila through a projector room :-)

Rocky the first movie? :-)

This is like the 'making of Vee' !!! Glad you came up with such a sweet post. Waiting for the sequels !

@Ava, Yes, right there!!! that moment.

@Einstein, Lolz, don't be. Just an occurrence.

@Rakesh, Indeed something I can never forget.

Ah, so u should tell us all too.

@BB, Hehe, yeah I too think so. :)

@Abhishek, Yups, the kid and Alfredo... Friendship needs no age. Kabhi bhi, Kaise bhi, Kisi ke saath bhi..:)

@Smita, U ain't supposed to be so sweet. I do not believe you.. ;) Edit ur comment...Lolz....

Yaar sach me, alag hi mazaa tha... Wo din.. aajkal ke .. uff.. mai kya bolun...

PS: Haha, High hopes u got there...

@Deewana Not Found, Lolz.. Haha.. I faced similar thing whenever current went and did same...:)But that's still ok. Doing that in front of projector ... hahaha.. Blasphemy I say.... Hehe

@Shayari, Thank You Buddy!

@Biju, Isn't it a classic for movie lovers?

Silsila... :) YES
Rocky... :) YES

Lolz, one based on extra-marital affair and other is a bollywood masala of utter nonsense. But, those were the days..

@Vimmuuu, Making? Lolz.... I wasn't thinking of writing this on blog.. I was thinking of putting this in my book. But then, it's getting delayed .. so..

Well, yeah., if there's part-1 there ll be part-many..;)

Finally I made it to your post.

Every word of your post reminded me of the guy you ahve as the icon for our MovieManax blog. THe guy looks ecstasic looking at a movie reel. I imagined same look on your face while you were fiddling around teh projecter. :)

@Poonam, yes that's the young boy of Cinema Paradiso..:)


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The Future Mantra

ya?...i still havent seen silsila..

:)nice post

@Future Mantra, I will...

@Mystiquedew, Infidelity it is based on.. haha.. a must watch... gawd, first movie of my life which I remember and infidelity it had to be..

We both are on the same boat! I truly admire your passion for films! :)

The first time I entered a projector room was 3 years ago, and that too in the IMAX theatres. The feeling was out of this world. I don't think I'll ever forget that. Also, I remember going for film screenings in the outdoors at night after every Diwali..this used to be held in tea gardens in Assam, loads and loads of people used to come to watch "the movie" then. It was thrilling! Something like the "Yeh Tara Woh Tara" scene from Swades. You just made me relive those days! Thanks a lot man..cinema ki jai ho! :)

@Bhargav, Thanks and I really look forward for your take as I know you feel them genuinely.

Projection room of IMAX.. kya baat hai.. Me jealous now.. Those good old days of watching a movie chhup-chhup ke, and then discussing them with others who have watched were like awesome days....

I can relate to your outdoor screening as it was almost like an open theater affair...

Man, sach me.. honestly... Cinema Ki Jai Ho!!!

This is something unique. Sounds like a movie. :) I have never been to such a screening. :(

This post explains it all! :-)


Quirky Indian

@Amit, Hehe...yea like a movie..thanks

@Quirky, :) Thanks.

bhaiya ka bachpan...kya baat hai...

bhaiya yeh dil maange more...
now i know how u got so mesmerized by movies.

hugs Big B


Was your dad a movie lover too? Dads influence is strongest.

Somehow i sense this is not going to end in part-ii........:)

@V-Bhai, Thanks Kiddo... :)

@UH, Nopes. He was not and still he is not interested in movies. He was just doing his job. Thankfully, his subordinate was highly influenced who influenced me a lot in those 6 years of father being in charge. Thanks>,

Move your Bloomin' arse, Eliza Doolittle is a delight. A lady like me she is.

woohhh.. i want to see u dance on that song too. lol.
"paradiso" eh?? Hmm will hv to watch.

@Mystique, Isn't that Loverly? Oh, so loverly!

@Anand, So dance I will.

I'm finally able to visit here! Thanks for the quick action! Appreciate it!

I don't remember watching any movie before I watched Mackenna's Gold! So that perhaps was my first movie! Subsequently, I remember watching the Blue lagoon and Omar Mukhtar, which has been one my most favorite, even today! Am totally hooked ever since!

Hey bud..wassup?/ WHy did u feel left out?? Lol.

Where have you been? No posts for quite sometime now..You've been watching great movies though (Amores Perros etc.) :)

@Rakesh, Mackenaa's Gold is a personal fav and Peck is one of favs.

@Anand, Was referring to one of your posts.

@Bhargav, Hey I am around but not updating anything. Have been watching truck loads of movies and reading a lot these days. Had left reading but I am back to it. So, I spent my spare time doing either of these.

Amores was awesome. Gael after I saw him in Motorcycle Diaries has become oneof my favs. Will write something soon. How have you been buddy?

Vee, get back to writing! I miss reading your posts.

@Bhargav, now that you are saying, I will post something soon. May be short reviews of the movies I have been watching this last one month. Thanks

Heya...very interesting posts and definitely reflects the cinema lover in thee...indeed. Haven't really gone through the review yet, but would surely do it.
Do drop in by my blog sometime and lemme know if you like it/hate it/or even want to bash it or hug it with love..hehe.
Here's the link:

I came here through Bhargav's blog, and it was lovely to read this post.



Wassup Brother???

No posts since a long time. Did you find a job? he he

@Sujoy, Thanks. That's so good of you. I am not so regular but I never miss Bhargav's post. I will check out yours soon. Thanks again.

@Rakesh-Bhai, No, not yet.. still hunting.. lolz....

Arrey mere bhai, m not out of work, in fact I got promotion and lovely bonus and got a new role in my company which is keeping me busy like hell...:):)

First time I went to a hall..I was 3ish...I was bowled over by the sheer size of the screen and how big the people looked. Pa never took me to the projector room though.

You've been very lucky boy...I'm envious.

@Ann Dee, I can understand the feeling totally. :)

Yeah, I have just been quite lucky.

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