Long Long Ago.
Three of us, after polishing off three full plates of street-side chicken noodles with thumbs-up, stepped into the movie theatre - Raghavendra 35 mm, Malkajgiri, (Hyd) - before the second-show movie was yet to begin. The hall lights were on, although dim and hopeless. The conventionally rocking and the official all time favorite of all hyderabadi movie goers - Vicco Turmeric and Vicco Vajradanti chain of ads - were already up on the screen. As we entered the hall, the balded old man in the ad, in his 70's, was biting open a walnut (signifying the ecumenical superiority of teeth over hair during old age)
Preventing an erosion of our individual networth (a whopping two-digit whole number) being the economic rationality, we never bought balcony tickets for two strategic reasons 1) want of freedom that is 100% immune to externally imposed behavioural restraints and 2) our sharp inclination to defy personal and collective dignity and gravitas. For us, watching movies is incomplete without atleast a dozen spells of whistling, screaming, bellylaughing and commenting on half-naked actresses on screen. So, dress-circle tickets ('mezzanine' poshly speaking) were our all-time favorite. Our dearest fatso, Rahul (motu), who resembles a personified pit bull with a detachable pot belly, grabbed the middle one up, among the three reserved seats by pushing us away. He quickly settled down in his seat and was grinning at us with a tinge of pride rivalling the Nizam of Hyderabad. Having no choice, we (Vishu and I) slipped into the seats on either sides of Rahul. Our seats were in the third row from the wall.
“Abey motu, middle seat mujhe de na, interval mein samosa khilaatha hoon” Vishu said. Motu heard it, but feigned ignorance, clearly evident from his naturally suspicious facial characteristics. He was sitting with his right leg across over the left, while oscillating them up and down.
The vicco vajradanti ads ended and the screen turned dark, while the lights still on. Silence ensued. Motu released a quick loud whistle - composition wise, 80% air and 20% whistle - and screamed out, loud enough for the limited people in the dress-circle section “ABEY O SAALE, AB THO LIGHTS BANDH KAR NA BEY, TERI MAAKI" while looking over his shoulder at the small square-shaped opening in the wall, apparently aiming at the movie operator.
“BEHNCH*D, KAUN HAI BEY WOH? SAALE!! FILIM START HONE AUR DUS MINUTE BAAKI HAI. ANDAR AANE SE PEHLE SHOW KA TIMING DEKTHEY NAHI BEY, BHAADAKHOW!” came a prompt reply from the sickly human head that popped up at the little wall opening. The entire hall (with about 25% occupancy) broke into laughter. We gave a gentle side glance at Motu who, by that time, had already curled himself up, and like a world-war sniper, was silently hiding deep in his seat giving nervous looks at the audience.
After about three minutes, he eyeballed all around carefully to make sure no one is looking at him. Then, he mumbled to me in the lowest possible decibel by any human "Woh Saala too much kar raha tha na?"