The tent talkie, probably one of the final surviving in Tamil Nadu, faces an unsure future submit the lockdown
Paying 15 paise for the tharai ticket (sitting on the bottom) on the Ganesh Thirai Arangam (theatre), a tent kottai and watching Thiruvilayadal whereas munching on murukku: these are some fond reminiscences G. Mahesh, a 50-year-old electrician from Kannigapuram in Ranipet, has, from about three many years in the past.
The future of the tent talkies, submit the lockdown although, stays unknown.
“This is one of the last surviving tent talkies in the district and even in the State. There used to be more than eight such talkies in the locality but all of them have closed down. This is one safe place as they do not allow drunkards, dancing and bursting crackers inside. Now, murukku has been replaced by hot bajji, bonda and tea. Popcorn is a recent addition. Before it closed for the lockdown, the last movie that was screened was MGR starrer Ragasiya Police,” says Mr. Mahesh.
The theatre, which has been in existence since 1987 and is a favorite amongst villagers, is tucked away in Puttu Thakku village and is located on a one-acre plot of land. Behind the light gentle blue partitions of a constructing, surrounded by yellow compound partitions, an enormous white display screen is positioned beneath a tin-sheeted roof. Foot marks on the sand inside point out the quantity of individuals who used to throng the talkies.
Seventy-year-old P.Ok. Ganesan who runs it, claims that he has been working the power for poor folks. He now plans to begin a mini theatre with reasonably priced tickets in the identical locality or proceed to keep up the talkies, on rented land, he says.
Despite the normal look of the premises, the viewers is proud of the sound and lightweight options in the talkies. “The first movie screened here was Vetri Vinayagar. Initially films were used, now we use cube projectors and good sound technology. There are only two classes of ticket – tharai and chair and they are priced ₹20 and ₹30 respectively. Behind the tharai ticket area, is the box with cushioned chairs. The entire capacity is 225 but the space can accommodate over 1,000,” explains Mr. Ganesan.
With the appearance of OTT platforms, many theatres have misplaced their audiences. “But people continue to come here. I do not earn any profit from this but it is a favourite among the poor. They can enjoy the movie with a good breeze from all four sides. Besides, they can have a good time with their family by spending around ₹200 including tea, snacks and tickets,” he says.
Mr. Ganesan stated that after COVID-19, the long run of the tent relies on the destiny of the movie business. “The mini theatre I am planning will also have tickets affordable for the poor,” he claims.
Actor Yogi Babu, who visited the talkies previous to the primary lockdown, stated that it introduced again reminiscences of his childhood. “I was moved when I saw it and I was happy to hear that the owner was not running it for profit. I have even been to such talkies. We used to munch on samosas and have fun watching movies sitting on the floor. We used to laugh and cry together. Now these things are missing,” he says.
The actor says he needs cinema to come back again to the theatres once more. “Such touring talkies should be preserved as these are places from which the industry grew,” he says.