Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Children's Film Festival Experience

News of the Children's Film Festival is splashed in the news everyday and I thought it might be a good idea for the young six year olds Anjali and Mansi to watch a movie. They nodded in agreement and got all set to watch a children's movie.

Since the newspaper did not mention anything about exclusivity or donor passes etc I assumed that the passes/tickets might be given at the venue. We looked up the schedule at Prasad's IMAX which seemed to have the most number of movies playing, starting from 930 in the morning and headed off for the 12 noon show. We headed straight to the counter and asked if we could get some tickets to watch the children's films.

'Sorry sir' came the voice through the glass partition. 'Children can go in free but adults need to get a pass.'
'Sure,' I asked. 'But where do I get the pass?'
'At Masab Tank sir,' he replied. 'There is an office there.'
Masab Tank is about 5 kms away!

I don't know what office he is talking about and what they will ask me to submit to get that pass. I could well imagine what would happen - I had been in similar situations before. In all likelihood I will have difficulty finding the office, finding parking, have to wait to meet the concerned person who would be too busy on the phone or out drinking chai. on return after lunch I may have to fill out a form ascertaining that I am an Indian (with documents), have children (with proof), will not misuse the pass (police verification), passport photograph, residence proof and id proof etc. Maybe they may send the pass home directly as well.

I could not understand what kind of a warped logic would have someone get a pass from a venue some 5 kms away when they have ticket counters at a venue as well organized as the Prasad's IMAX. Fine, you need your delegates, your directors etc but you also need your audiences to view these movies right? Or do you just want the special few to watch? I am sure some 20% seats could be allocated to people / children who want to watch the movies at the venue. I would have happily paid a premium for those seats.

Anyway, the kids looked a bit disappointed and also voted that they will not see the movie without me (children can go in but adults need a pass you see!) so we went and played some games etc. I could see many more parents struggling to get some information about how to watch these movies.

The film festival is still going on and everyday we hear more and more news about movies that are being played, famous directors talking eloquently about the films and all that. But somehow one wonders if the true spirit of having a children's film festival is being lost. Somewhere they need to get out of these passes business and sell some tickets at the counter. That's how movie watching is done normally.

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