Cinema gold

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on December 29, 2017

Illustration: Manjula Padmanabhan

When I told Bins I was going to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he wrinkled his nose with disdain. “You’re joking!” he exclaimed. “No one wants to see that kind of nonsense movie any more!” But I am no one in that case. I loved the first Star Wars the year it came out. And all the rest since then. Even Phantom Menace. Even Clone Wars.

So yes, I went to see The Last Jedi yesterday and it was thrilling. Not just the movie but the viewing experience! Because a friend gifted me and her mother with tickets to watch it in super-deluxe 3D, at Select City Walk’s PVR Gold Class. I had no idea such options even existed, never mind accessible to mere mortals such as moi.

My companion was more experienced than I, which was a good thing, or else I would have simply walked away from all the golden mirrors and roped-off access paths. We went down two flights of stairs and into a lounge-area which looked like a James Bond movie-set. Alas, the service at the snacks counter was a little gloomy — perhaps to match the lighting? — and their coffee machine was on the blink.

No matter. We entered the hall, dim-lit with tiny golden lights in the walls and arranged like a luxury home which just happened to be a preview theatre, with seating for an audience of 40. We had seats on the side, just two to ourselves. The reclining seats were super-comfy, upholstered in caramel brown, with pillows, blankets and call buttons in the armrests, like an airline’s business class. Valets could be summoned to bring us food and beverages. A reading lamp rested on the narrow ledge between the seats, providing both of us with ample space.

It was glorious to the nth degree. I barely noticed the other audience members, though every seat was filled. The movie, of course, was a good match for the venue because it was two hours long and so action-packed that my mouth dried out from hanging open for so long. Lots of nostalgia moments — Oh Princess Leia! Oh Luke Skywalker! We were all so young when we first met! — but cool new creatures too, like crystal foxes and wildly careening “farthiers”, tall, sheep-faced race-horses.

There was some interesting back-ground material, about the Jedi. I always loved the idea of the Force, but I’ve also always felt vaguely uncomfortable with the focus on elite bloodlines. Well. That issue is addressed in this movie. Sort of. There’s a delicious promise of more to come, plus a passing of the torch to new generations. The music was haunting. The locations were interesting and faintly MYST (the video-game)-inspired.

By the time we sauntered out into the crisp air of Delhi’s evening, I felt enriched and transported. Ready to fight alongside the Rebellion against evil Empires! And grateful to my generous friends for gifting me with this golden journey.

Manjula Padmanabhan , author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

Published on December 29, 2017
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