Watching 'Jungle Book' at the age of eight, along with my mother and her friend and her children; is the earliest of my memories on watching a movie. I vividly remember that we all were treated to Gold Spot, a soft drink; which provided a cartoon character as a stamp behind the soft drink's cap. Each of us were happy to receive a character each which also invited discussion on their individual traits. The movie itself is a distant memory but the entire experience of selecting one of the three frocks, dressing with care, hiring a rickshaw, standing in a queue to buy the movie tickets, enjoying the treats, crying at the slightest discomfort to the hero and finally returning home in a rickshaw; is what is my earliest memory of watching a movie in a theater.
This experience was even more enhanced after attending college. Instead of the theater and the treats, the general issue was elaborate planning, forming a group, arranging for transport, pooling pocket money, bunking classes and then finally going to the theater where comments and teasing were the accepted norms. It is even more interesting to mention the fact that every year the 'Traditional Day' was celebrated in the college which saw everybody in their best attire, looking their best. Our class used to go to the movie on such days where we all would be cynosure of all eyes. The important aspect of this situation is not the movie or the treats but managing your traditional dress, trying to look your best, asserting your individuality in a group and finally bringing your personality out into the world. The entire experience was retold to the family with lot of excitement.
After completing education, individuals who later took up jobs, would plan for movies along with their colleagues strictly after office hours. Here the concept of bunking office is nearly non existent. People in such situations go for enjoying the movie; the concept of elaborate planning, managing yourself etc, takes a backseat. Buying the luxuries offered by a multiplex is more lucrative than the actual story of the movie. The fun part of the movie shifts the focus to the point where situations or people get associated with the central characters of the movie. Couples visiting such places are more into imagining themselves as hero or heroines and spinning their own yarn.
The entire individual focused experience takes a tumble after the birth of kid(s). Watching movie becomes more of an ordeal when the kid(s) are of kindergarten age. The constant nagging fear as to when a kid may start bawling, completely smashes the silence of the mind and the movie hall. A more comfortable situation is when your kid allows you to watch the movie provided you answer all their questions. So the focus now shifts to more of a question answer round for the kids and parents where at times you feel happy when the movie ends. Having enjoyed (or got traumatized) all these forms of movie watching, I have now shifted to another gear altogether where I am watching children's films like Minions, ice age etc. or sci fi films like Gravity, Interstellar etc.
My teenage daughter now makes plan for movies along with her friends which is appreciated by me and my husband. The difficult part is in understanding how my daughter and her friends spent the three hours at the theater. Her narrative of the film's story and of their group is jumbled up to the point that we almost lose track of who is who in the entire experience. So, after watching 'Welcome Back', my daughter took to narrating the story; in between trying to tell about herself and her friends. Till date, I neither felt the need to watch the same movie nor have I understood the movie; not because its confusing, but because I could make neither head nor tail of my daughter's narrative. One thing that I am happy and content about is the fact that I enjoyed the entire experience of watching movie through the eyes and perspective of a new generation.