It’s a big thing when you are in college and you get this assignment as a part time freelancer to go to the best theatre in the city and review the movie for which your friends will have to wait for at least another two weeks, before even making an attempt at getting tickets will be fruitful. To add to that the newspaper also provides for snacks during the interval, a concept which is as alien as going to sleep at ten at night for a nineteen year old hostelite. Finally of course there is the five hundred bucks which you will get to pocket for writing a few lines about the movie featuring your favorite star, about which you would have written paeans in your emails to your friends anyway.
So I entered the hall in my best attire, and for some unknown reason I carried the notion that a full length picture of mine will appear alongside the article, that too in color. So I borrowed my friend’s brown shoe polish and the brown show from another friend of mine. How can a movie reviewer wear plain black shoes? Suede it was for me, and each strand of hair lay obediently where I ordered them to. Since it was a big occasion I hailed a cab instead of the usual half hanging from the minibus routine. Intentionally I brought up the topic of this particular movie with the cabbie and tried to get a reaction it has made in the grass root level. I was confident I was going to become the next big thing in the world of sting journalism and I would be a darling of the masses and maybe an award would be named after me like the Pulitzer Prize. Who knows maybe like Joseph Pulitzer they would name some kind of journalism after some color (Pulitzer is credited for having yellow journalism, for more detailed check out wikipedia.com) and then associate that color with me. Maybe red would no longer remain red, but become Suhel red. After paying twenty times my bus fare to that cabbie, who did not seem to come from the grass roots anymore, I made my way towards the theatre.
The movie had not yet started and I experimented with the leather push back seats and the soft drink glass holder and decided that from then on I would never watch any movie at any theatre but a multiplex. I stuck to my word till that weekend, that’s till the next movie we watched in the cheapest theatre in the city. The movie started and I clapped when my star’s name appeared on the screen. A fat, elegant and stinking rich smelling nice lady sitting next to gave me the most condescending look of my life. I sank back into my seat. The movie played on and it was one of those where even your idol cannot stop making you repeatedly look at the watch and the end of the ordeal. Finally after one hundred and ninety two minutes the credits started rolling and only after coming out of the theatre I remembered that I was supposed to be writing a review for the movie, and I did not even note down the name of the director. Since that day for the next two weeks my friends always answered my cell whenever the newspaper office called, and they informed the newspaper that I was down with some mutated form of terminal disease and they should prepare an obituary for the person who would have been their greatest movie reviewer.