Even without our taking note of it, the multiplexes have changed the way we watch movies. Comfortable couches, wide armrests, even an accoutrement to keep your cola: quite unthinkable even in the early nineties when you queued up in midday sun to buy tickets for “Maine Pyar Kiya”! These towering beings changed the entire movie-watching experience. Not surprisingly they come equipped with shopping malls and coffee shops, where after you can discuss the frailties of plot, or sing paeans of praises or decide to dress up like the heroine in her item number.
Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Multiplexes have changed the way movie are made. Even a decade earlier, you had commercial films and art films, with polarised camps making them. And of course you had grey areas, where none dared to venture. You had art film actors and directors, who made films like English August, Hazar Chourasi ki Maa, Dahan to mention a few. Also you had movies made by David Dhawans and Suraj Barjatiyas, with a colourful Govindas and Karishma Kapoors thrown in, dancing around trees. Needless to say, the former, usually made on a shoestring budget gunned for critical accolades while the latter binged on the treasure at the bottom of the pyramid.
The multiplex opened up a lot of avenues for actors and directors. With the sizable young urban populace making advance booking for their sweethearts, a new breed of directors and actors forayed into those grey territories. Actors like Rahul Bose came into the reckoning. Movies like Hazaroon Khwaishein Aisi began to be made and screened. Slowly but steadily, the Goliath of Sunny Deols and Salman Khans began to be challenged by the David like Kay Kay Menons and Rajat Kapoors and Konkona Sens. However there were no heartbreaks, no losers! The Bhojopuri film industry hit Bihar big time. And the dying stars of Bollywood had a new sky to shine on.
Instead of the platitudinous commercial films and a lagniappe of art house frills, we have good movies made and bad movies made. Actors who want to act, scripts which make semblance of sense. The darlings of the multiplex!
Post Script: I keep wondering how good a rugby player Rahul Bose had made if it were not for these multiplexes!