Day 47: Jess is a Wanderer went to the movies and this is what happened… You may think it’s odd that I’m dedicating a whole post to write about the Indian cinematic experience, however, you’ll soon see why!
We’d spent the night ‘sleeping’ on a bus from Rishikesh (or thereabouts) to Delhi. We were literally going to be in Delhi for nine hours before hopping on another night bus to Varanasi. As a result of our ‘suffering’ we decided to have a chilled out day and visit the movies.
I’ve been to the cinema in many countries: France, Egypt, Australia, Thailand, South Africa, USA and now India. Whilst (with the exception of Thailand) the experience is ‘normal’, I must tell you about what happens in India.
Firstly, we went to a venue called ‘Director’s Cut’ which seems to be VIP viewing. Tickets were 1000RS which is the same as the UK give or take. However, there was free water on each seat. The chairs were reclining La-Z-Boys and came with blankets, lamps and waiter service. You could order from an extensive menu and the food would be delivered during the movie. The lobby was filled with upmarket ice-cream and popcorn stands.
After the trailers (and there were many), everyone had to stand for the national anthem. I’ve seen this done before in Thailand but it was interesting to experience it in India also.
Further to this, whenever a member of the cast was smoking, a health message was displayed across the screen: Warning, tobacco can seriously damage your health. Fascinating.
Finally, the last part to make our Indian cinema experience so unusual was that whenever alcohol was featured in the movie – like a bottle of vodka or a beer or whatever, the label was blurred out. There’s no promotion of alcohol here!
After googling our findings, it was revealed that in July this year, the Indian government decided to ban anything which promoted smoking or drinking – including international movies. Instead of refraining showing the films, it was decided that the acts would be censored instead.
And this, for me, is what travelling is all about. Learning the different approaches that each culture has to even the most mundane of events. And now you know.