Going to the movies? Well, good luck!

Published: April 21, 2012

When Katniss is applying medication to soothe her burns; one of the hyenas chooses to compare the ointment to ‘Jhandu Balm’. PHOTO: AFP

I recently went to watch the movie The Hunger Games at a cinema located in Saddar. To say that I had wanted to watch this movie for a long time (since it is based on a novel that I had read and really enjoyed) is an understatement.

I was truly looking forward to the experience of watching the characters come alive on screen and discover how closely the scenes matched the ones I had imagined while reading the novel.

So, in short, I was really excited for what should have been an amazing experience. But amazing it was not, and I will explain exactly why.

Better late than never?

Yeah, I don’t believe that any more! We made sure that we were at the theatre well ahead of the scheduled screening time. We got ourselves some munchies and settled down in our allotted seats, which we had been very picky about since a good movie experience is enhanced by good seats.

Everything was going smoothly and the movie was scheduled to start in the next five minutes. Oddly enough, the theatre was rather empty for a movie which was a box office hit; hadn’t the ticket guy said that there were limited seating options available because the seats were mostly booked?

So, to me, there was an eerie calm; a calm which I should have known precedes any cataclysmic storm.

Sure enough, soon the gates to hell spilled open and the room began to fill up exponentially.

Even after the movie started the excited buzz of an audience settling in and adapting to its surroundings still hadn’t died down. People were still coming in with truck loads of popcorn and nachos and drinks and… kids.

Baby-sitter, where art thou?

Kids of all types, shapes and sizes came tumbling in at a movie rated for an audience of 12 year olds and above. This was due to ‘intense threat, moderate violence and occasional gory moments’. It makes me wonder whether the management was actually unaware or simply indifferent, but either way it was completely unacceptable.

As luck would have it, one of the families, with a pair of two or three year olds, decided to sit right in front of me.

“Great!” I thought to myself.

Soon enough, I was literally straining to hear the words that were being spoken on screen. The toddlers got excited over something and had perhaps finally learnt how to clap, to the delight of their parents. They had decided to further investigate this new found talent from that point onwards at the slightest of stimulations.

After I had had enough of the clapping show, I went and told one of the ushers to find us a new spot where my sanity was not under assault. Little did I know that such spots were not known to exist here.

Anyways, the poor fellow guided us to a spot in the front, and even though it wasn’t an ideal location since I had to crane my neck and stare at the screen, at least there were no clapping kids in front of me.

Mind your language

Not a chance! This time, the attack came from behind by a group of girls or rather, a pack of hyenas who found everything around them absolutely hilarious.

I understood the onslaught of giggles when the characters shared a kiss on screen, but when Katniss (the protagonist) shot an arrow through the jugular of one of her opponents, the inexplicable laughter that followed the gushing blood was a little disturbing.

And when during one of the scenes, Katniss is applying medication to soothe her burns; and this is where one of the hyenas chooses to compare the ointment to ‘Zandu Balm’.

Bend it like Beckham?

Do this all you like in a football field, but please, not in the cinema! There was a point, during the movie, where somebody suddenly shouted from the middle of the theatre somewhere,

Yaar taangain mat maro naa! Kiya masla hay tumhein?

(Don’t kick me! What is your problem?)

Phone a friend

I had thought that nothing could add to my annoyance any more. By this time I had given up and decided to just wait it out till the end – probably to justify my ticket purchase. I didn’t even bother expressing my annoyance when the person next to me decided to answer his mobile phone and update his friend on the basic plot of the movie.

What was maybe more annoying was that he clearly hadn’t understood it himself. But who could blame him, given the presence of the hyenas at the back, who I believe are the answer to ‘what has gone wrong with humanity?’

So the movie came to an end, and I was finally released from the room where I felt I had paid to be punished.

I can’t wait for the DVD to come out, and watch the movie in the comfort of my home.


Have you ever taken a call while watching a movie at the cinema?

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Adil Afzal

A Chemical Engineering graduate based in Karachi.

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

  • faizan

    Excellent; I thought it was only me!

    Packs of hyena girls and chimpanzee boys are everywhere. You can’t blame them though; their mothers probably don’t let them out of the hosue very often so everything they see is a big tamasha.

    My advice is to go to matinee shows.Recommend

  • Monis Kan

    lol at hyenas comparing ointment to ‘Zandu Balm’ :PRecommend

  • Awais

    Ah dude, I really didn’t want Rue to die in that movie (I have not read the book). I’m sorry that you had a bad experience but thank you for a great article….I wonder how the people around you reacted to the finale when Peeta and Katniss are chased by the mutts. Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/SamiSaayer Sami Saayer

    i was once thrown out of the DHA cinemas because my 2 year old was disturbing people. not crying or making noise but disturbing by not sitting on her seat. before that, they had made me pay for her ticket too even though world over children under 3 go to cinemas for free. just remembered this when you mentioned baby sitters. a lot of people cant get them. guess they have no right to go to movies.Recommend

  • Noise

    Its better to join in the hooting rather than trying to stoically trying enjoy the film itself, when in Rome, eh? The cinema is a social experience, best enjoyed in the company of friends Recommend

  • http://london Knotty

    Experience is not very different in London (especially where Indian/Pakistanis live)!!Recommend

  • xzy

    Everyone knows the etiquettes of sitting in mosque but are ignorant of the etiquettes of watching film in cinema.Recommend

  • Sana

    People with kids probably do not have any other option but if i had kids younger than 10 i wouldnt go to cinemas and spoil the fun for others. As far as the hyenas are concerned, wish i could just kick the crap out of them, but i know one againt a hundered isn’t the best idea so i have decided to stay home since the last movie i watched on cinema “Thor”, and watch the rest at home and wait for the day when the cinema rules would strictly apply to all if you know what i mean.Recommend

  • Owais

    @Sami Saayer: I have a brother-in-law in Canada who was a movie fanatic, even used to go watch movies in the cinema by himself. Then he had a kid and has not gone since. Does he have no right to go to the movies? That depends. Does he have a right to transgress on other people’s experience of the movie? Do people have the ‘right’ to shout FIRE in the movie theater in the USA in a moment of levity? The answer to all of the above is no, no, and no.

    Your understanding of rights is skewed. Get a relative to watch your kid if you can’t afford a babysitter. Otherwise, wait for the DVD to come out. This is how things are done the world over. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Very well-written piece!Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Boss your lucky to even get a ticket and a good seat at atrium, their staff is rude unfriendly and they do a lot of hanky panky with ticketing like artficial shortages, blaking their tix, holding them on for VIPs celebrities and big shot of Karachi elite, their managment knows whats its going on but refuse to do anything.
    FYi im banned from their facebook page for having communicated genuine dissatisfaction, respect for customer service non existent here.Recommend

  • Parvez

    What you describe is ‘the whole movie going experience’……….. lighten up a bit and enjoy.Recommend

  • Awais

    Definetly know what you mean. But not just Indians and Pakistanis, Somalions and the black ghetto frogs from council estates who are too ‘badman’ to keep quite.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Sami Saayer: ” just remembered this when you mentioned baby sitters. a lot of people cant get them. guess they have no right to go to movies.”

    Not to movies which are rated for 12 or over – No.Recommend

  • omer

    very nicely written!!!!Recommend

  • Saeed

    I was planning on watching The Dark Knight Rises in cinema this summer. Will have to reconsider in light of this blog. Better wait for the DVD release, like always.Recommend

  • Critical


    Had I seen this blog in my college days,I would have called you “High Class (beep beep)”??
    I’m now in US for 2 years and sadly I miss the fun and excitement in Indian theatres….Here,its deathly quiet for my liking….Of course,I believe in the concept “While in Rome…..”

    Gone were the days when we used to buy Rs10 ticket in a ruins of a theatre and make a din of noise and comments for entire 3 hrs….
    Sometimes,we used to go utter flop movies and make enough comments to make others enjoy the movie by our comments …
    Even after we graduated and got high paying jobs ….We used to earmark few commercial movies and watch them in small theatres than multiplexes just to enjoy the experience of watching ….

    The English and serious movies (for eg,A wednesday) were watched in multiplex where the experience is akin to a theatre in US or Europe…

    I think you chose a wrong theatre to watch the movie…Next time,chose the correct theatre for the type of movie you watch….
    And there is nothing wrong to be a hyena…Its just that you need to chose where to be oneRecommend

  • Amjad

    @Sami Saayer: I can tell you that people in the West don’t bring babies and small children to such films. Tell you what, try going to see a film with your baby in the US and see how people treat you. Perhaps then you’ll understand.Recommend

  • Kay-Lid!

    My cousin had a great cinema experience, He held hands with an unknown girl sitting next to her…and I was one seat away from that opportunity :pRecommend

  • HighAnxiety

    first world problemsRecommend

  • Amina

    I actually couldn’t agree more with this article. My hunger games experience was actually far worse. I had the pleasure of sitting behing 6 punjabi boys who couldn’t get tickets for houseful so decided to entertain the audience with an ongoing commentary of hunger games in punjabi, with comments like ‘aey mirpur tou ayein hai, neendar poori karnay’ and ‘sarson dag sag tey hai per makai di roti kithay hai’, which was entertaining at times but mostly just annoying as hell. To be honest, all of lack basic cinema etiquette, and yes i claim there is such a thing, from not attending phones while in the theatre to just generally being considerate of other people.Recommend

  • Hijab

    Excellent Read! =D
    People need to respect movies. It takes hell lot of time to make one. Cinema is no place for kids. Cinemas should have a play area for kids. SERIOUSLY. Moreover, haha… There is always a group of people who will laugh at every funny dialogue. too annoying.. or pass their judgments about the movie before hand =pRecommend

  • Faraz

    @Sami Saayer: At the expense of the rest of the people in the cinema, NO. If you have a 3 year old then stay home please, dont ruin the movie for the rest of us. Recommend

  • Saharanpuri

    Have the following offbeat movies were released in pakistan nw hat were the box office report of the same?

    1) Vicky Donor

    2) Kahaani

    3) Paan Singh Tomar

    4) Delhi Belly

    5) Saheb Biwi aur Gangster

    6) Wednesday

    7) YeH Saali Zindagi

    8) Delhi Belly

    9) 3 Idiots

    10) Lage raho Munna bhai

    11) Munna Bhai MBBS Recommend