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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Close Encounters

Mumbai - the entertainment capital of the country. It’s got Bollywood, it’s got Ekta Kapoor, it’s got Mid-Day, it’s got the works. Little wonder that I find myself being fabulously entertained in the city, by the city.
What better way to start the day than with a king-sized action flick. Hell, I’ve always been a big fan of such movies. Conan the Barbarian, Bloodsport, Fight Club, you name it. On second thought, allow me to name it. Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind, perhaps?

There are multiple shows on offer. I usually take the 08:45 am one on most occasions. While this is not exactly for Karan Johar fans, it pales in comparison to some of the other shows (which are only patronized by true connoisseurs of this brand of Mumbai cinema). Contrary to public perception, the show doesn’t always start on time. But when it does, even the sun gets shut out by a mass of humanity, everything goes dim and then there is andhera in the Andheri theatre. And the action begins without much ado. It’s mild to start with - just the stifling of breath, the contortions of face, the stomping on of toes and the pumping of blood. As the show progresses, so does the quality of action. 9:08 am is when the shoving, the jostling really begin and challenges are thrown. Forget 3D, forget IMAX. This is the real deal. Experience action the way it was always meant to be - right in the middle of it. Feel the crushing of bones and smell the sweat as it permeates the very air. Ah! Sadly the action starts petering out around 9:15 am, leaving the discerning viewer with nothing other than a sense of anti-climax. Such viewers are advised to attend earlier shows that provide closer encounters of the Mumbai kind. Or procure entry to shows rated F (needless to say, F stands for Fantastic).

However, it must be noted that the show is quite egalitarian in nature – tickets to both the balcony as well as the floor end up getting similar service and experience. What a First Class flick!

For viewers with harder tastes, the horror shows commence in the evening and go on till late into the night. It’s advisable get to an early show. That’s because these evening shows are more popular than Mallika Sherawat and Rakhi Sawant put together; there’s always a mad rush of people waiting to get in. The action reaches frenzied heights: punches are thrown and skulls are shattered. Challengers are thrown away like rag dolls. Replete with blood, gore and more – the climaxes of these movies are indeed unparalleled. Longer the duration of the show, the better is the climax. That possibly explains why the Virar show is the superhit that it is. In fact, some of these shows can be so absorbing that it almost becomes impossible for the transfixed viewer to leave the theatre (except for those blessed with powers in astral projections).
Unfortunately there is no romance in these movies because of lots of censorship. Drawing a leaf from the Taliban book of public life, the sexes are segregated to discourage practical demonstrations of the combined effects of Axe, Wild Stone and Zatak Gold (used liberally by the smart Mumbaikar male). Going by the scenes of writhing bodies though, it seems that love of the Brokeback Mountain kind is certainly not frowned upon. How admirable and forward-minded! What an excellent measure to check the city’s burgeoning population!

There is not much of comedy. Viewers who manage to get into the theatre first and occupy vantage spots might disagree with the statement just made. Going by their grins and amused looks, these viewers find these shows to be quite funny.

The bottomline is that the show organizers have got to be complimented. Tickets are priced well under par. As are a few other things. The result is an experience which is obviously incomparable. In terms of value for money, nothing beats this set-up. Forget Andheri to Churchgate. One can go all the way to the pearly gate. But that’s only a small part of the bigger picture. There’s so much more to these shows.

Everyday life in these metropolises is so predictably fast. People hardly get time to do their own thing. Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind sets a stellar example in this regard. It ensures that people get the physical exercise that they desperately need. A combination of sprints and hurdles help keep the body fit and toned. A healthy dose of gymnastics aids flexibility. A few rigorous bouts of boxing and wrestling go a long way in muscle development and in improving blood circulation. Mountaineering techniques are also employed to train the body in an environment of low oxygen. And then there are a select few who actually get to surf waves of humanity. Hey, slanging matches keep vocal cords in shape too. What better way to start the day than with such an eclectic collection of sports.

Problems with water supply and a general lack of time ensure that not too many people get to take a bath. Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind creates an environment conducive to producing copious amounts of sweat, which serves as an alternate bathing medium. Fresh water is conserved and the future of planet earth is safeguarded. The rain gods, always partial to the traditionalists among us, do absolutely no harm by frequently showering show-goers with fresh water. In the process, clothes get washed as well, thus saving many from the clutches of the evil that is dhobidom.

So there is exercise. There is personal hygiene. There is laundry. There is great use of time. What more may one expect from Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind?

Pathbreaking physics (and allied disciplines of science). Mental exercise is just as important as physical, if not more.

There’s thought-provoking defiance of operations research and the theory of constraints. There is no constraint when it comes to Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind. Capacity utilization is not limited by time or space. 100% is for other flop shows. It tends to infinity here.

There’s fluid mechanics. Remember the stuff about turbulent flow being the greatest at the entry and the exit of a conduit? Remember that turbulent flow is initiated when Reynold’s number is more than 2000 (in the theatre)?

There are the principles of momentum. Momentum is directly proportional to the masses..err…mass. Momentum is conserved but energy is not when it comes to inelastic collisions. And boy, are there a few of them or what?!

There’s surface tension and its proportionality to the angle of contact with the surrounding media.

The most important one, of course, pertains to the transformation of energy. You walk into a Close Encounters of the Mumbai Kind show with a lot of potential energy. It gets converted to kinetic as well as a bit of heat energy. At the end of it, there is only light energy in its purest form as one walks away (in most cases) - well and truly enlightened.

mental baba 12:45 AM
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