Kolkata, the City of Joy, has been a connoisseur of arts and artists for ages. When it comes to movies, Bengalis all over the world take immense pride in the heritage that has seen the rise of likes of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen and other contemporary filmmakers who have time and again produced critically acclaimed movies that have given them and the country international acclaim. The industry that started way back in 1920s have provided solace to Bengal’s heart and soul by its rich cinematic renderings of Rabindranath Tagore’s plays and dramas.
In a city that has a steep uneven wealth distribution but surrounded by the richness of culture and revolutionary heritage, it is the ideal setting for the locals here to be deeply in love with cinema, artistic and literary manifestations. From the intellectual conversation at the local ‘para’ (neighbourhood) to the traditional political gathering, the public in Kolkata miss no opportunity to express their appreciation or disapproval of things that are close to their heart – be it classical music, a literary work of art, a game of cricket or football, a mouth-watering dish or movies in Kolkata. Nothing is spared – all topics and interest areas that have even an ounce of relevance in their lives is discussed and dissected in details.
The public loves to watch Bengali, Hindi and English movies in Kolkata. Not that the other languages are not respected, it is just that the percentage of Bengalis living in the state is way more than people from other states. On the contrary, people from other lingual background develop an incredible liking for the Bangla language so much so that even they become ardent movie watchers of Bengali cinema.
The craze of multiplexes has hit this city too. The otherwise traditional city with a modern outlook had started the process of adopting malls and multiplexes in the early 2000s. More and more working class people, urban middle class people like to spend their weekends in one of the theatres of the multiplexes watching a movie in Kolkata.
While the earlier generation still fondly reminisce the times when they would stand in queues in front of the booking counter patiently till a board announcing sold-out would be hung on the window, the younger generation of today take immense pride in the smartness of modern technology. They question, so what if one hall is sold-out? Using their smart phones and downloaded mobile Apps they are able to access relevant information in matter of minutes – information that would guide them on – the different halls that are featuring the particular movie, the show timings etc.
And even if the movie hall is a way bit out of their area or locality, they are more than happy to book online the tickets of the show that suit the older generation. In a city like Kolkata, even if the traffic is wayward, they know they can reach the place on time for the show. And their joy is doubled when they are able to book seats to their liking and choice!