I distinctly remember my early student days when the only source of entertainment was movies. Television hadn’t evolved much but for Chitrahaar on Wednesdays and Hindi movie on Sunday evenings and that too with multiple breaks! Moreover, very few households had TV then and unless you had a rich and generous neighbor, even that option was a luxury!
Delhi Government (or was it Delhi administration? ) cut the entertainment tax and the rates at one of my favourite cinemas “Sangam” (like most of the single screen theatres I think Sangam also could’nt survive and is either closed now or converted into a multiplex) were as under:
Front stall Rs 1.60
Middle stall Rs. 2.05
Rear stall Rs.2.90
There was another favourite “Chanakya” (God bless it; Mera Naam Joker was the first movie to be screened there and till it’s closure in mid 2000s it remained amongst the finest theatres in India with wide screen and stereophonic sound) that used to screen mainly English movies and had special rate for front stall that was Rs.0.65!
If every new movie released each week was to be watched and pocket money had serious limitations, the preference always was to pay the minimum possible for the ticket! While Rs2.05 slot was favourite at Sangam, Rs.0.65 was unbeatable because that left scope for a plate of Samosas! Rs.2.90 slot was pure luxury to be resorted to under extreme circumstances and balcony was strictly no- no!
Fast forwad this to today when circumstances have changed and I am a well paid senior executive with take home in 6 figures! Today also weekend shows of newly released blockbusters at PVR seem obscenely expensive and to indulge in any eatable there (that includes bottle of water) is unthinkable! Sometimes I try to overcome this fear by reassuring myself about my current status, but in the matters of luxury, you are rich only if you are born with a silver spoon in the mouth- otherwise your heart and mind are unconvinced about your newly acquired prosperity!