Let’s hope your heart keeps going on and on

Published: May 1, 2012

You can never blame the Pakistani cinema for not being interesting. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

If you were Jack and I was Rose, you would have sacrificed your life to save mine, said a woman to a man sitting on my right at the cinema.

Arif, you would have saved me, right?

It’s a Friday and I’m watching Titanic in 3D.  I’m slouched in my cinema seat, trying desperately to blend into the surroundings – anything — in order to avoid the romance unfolding on my right. Onscreen Jack is convincing Rose not to commit suicide, but all I could think, “Way to put Arif on the spot, woman.”

Picture the same cinema an hour later. The theatre was hushed – Rose was lying on the floating door with a frozen Jack clutching her hands. The man in the rescue lifeboat yells, “Hallo! Is there anyone out there?” A group of people sitting in the front seats suddenly scream, “Yes, We are alive. Save us save us.”

A rather haughty friend of mine complained that he could not watch films in Pakistan because of the crowd and comments.

Complain all you want, but you learn to roll your eyes and say whatever. You can never blame the Pakistani cinema for not being interesting. What’s wrong with a little laughing, a little hilarity? A cousin went to watch a horror film at the cinema but walked out in hysterics because the man sitting behind her kept passing funny comments about the actress and the script.

It’s not just the comments – they’re the stupid variety you often crack with your friends when you’re at home flipping through TV. It’s how they’re loud, silly and always in a crowd of a 100 people watching with you, sharing every minute of your movie going experience. When Ron kissed Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the fun wasn’t in two people suddenly screaming ‘Finally!’ and ‘Thank God!’ simultaneously – it was that the entire jam packed cinema burst out laughing with them and cheered.

Back in the day when Robert Pattinson’s hair and Taylor Lautner’s abs seemed to excite 15-year-old girls across the country, my friend convinced me to go watch ‘New Moon’ with her. As hard as it was keeping a straight face through a film wherein order to die the hero takes off his shirt, it was harder still with the comments of who we later dubbed ‘the guy at the back’.

Bella: I’m coming with you

Edward: No, you’re not

Bella: You can’t leave

Guy at the back: Please, leave him alone already

However, there are instances where the lines are crossed. Inappropriate comments and the hooting that accompanies them, are what drive several to argue for ‘a family atmosphere’- whatever that means. I find that phrase in itself degrading, as if saying a certain bunch of 20-something young people cannot watch a film.

Then of course, you always meet those people, who lose themselves in nostalgia over Bambino and Capri of the ‘60s or ‘70s, as if to say, now that was a movie going experience.

Well, I’m 18, and I can lose myself in nostalgia too. People my age lament on how our younger brothers and sisters will never know what it was like not to have cinemas and films in the first place. I still remember when the first Hollywood film was released in Pakistan – on time – Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Did I watch it at Nishat or Capri? This was before the rise of Universal Cineplex or Atrium Cinema, before going to the cinema became a thing people suddenly did, fervently. Now it’s commonplace to ask when a new mall is being built – so, are they building a cinema in it too?

People forget how there was time after exams you didn’t have a friend ask you,

Somebody check the Atrium website for new releases?

Instead they complain and fuss over who’s going and what they’re saying – as if that even matters. Watch the film, and don’t mind the stupid things people say – laugh along. Arif, you have my sympathies.

Read more by Meiryum here.

Meiryum Ali

Meiryum Ali

A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Brilliant, loved it. The revival of the whole ‘ movie going ‘ experience is such a good thing happening. Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Good read. Stick to this genre of writing.Recommend

  • Kureshi

    How can you take that absurdity as infact part of the cinema going culture. what you fail to realize is that not all of us tend to laugh, or appreciate for that matter, any comments—cheap or otherwise—when we watch a movie. Recommend

  • http://uptonogood.tumblr.com/ Red

    I certainly enjoyed all the hooting while watching Dostana ;)Recommend

  • Mbn

    This is why movies with heavy subject matter shouldn’t be seen in the cinema.

    However, Wrath of the Titans 3D?

    BRING IT ON!Recommend

  • pseudo intellectual— not

    ahhh another article bites the dusttt……… !! Recommend

  • Bilal

    I think you need to go elsewhere with your elitist rants. Perhaps the experiences you speak of are experienced by less than 1% of the Pakistani population. Absolutely abhor your articles.Recommend

  • Hina

    Like your point of view… if you can’t beat them, and done want to join them, you can still enjoy ‘em from your own seat :)
    I totally feel you on the nostalgia part!Recommend