BENGALURU: Farheen Qadri, who runs the cafe Zoey’s in Sarjapur, was tired of ‘cliched’ weekend outings that involved visiting a mall or stepping out to eat. Looking for something new to try, Qadri eventually settled on watching Dil Chahta Hain with her friends. But this time, the experience was a lot more ‘magical and romantic’. Qadri, who had opted for an open-air screening of the film, organised by Lonely Cow Entertainment LLP, says, “The movie was just a part of the whole outing. The focus was the experience: We got to enjoy the evening as it grew dark and the air got chilly. But the most striking part is the sky. After living in concrete jungles, the stars are really striking.”
Qadri isn’t the only one ditching the conventional multiplexes for open air movie screenings instead. According to Akhila Sreenivas, the founder of The Courtyard, and Sushen Kakkar, Project Head SteppinOut Movie Nights, such experiences are popular due to the more relaxed vibe and community feeling they provide. For example, the seating for the events hosted by The Courtyard and SteppinOut Movie Nights often consists of mats, lawn chairs or bean bags. “People come with children, friends and family and make a full evening out of it. They also meet like minded movie buffs and truly engage in an alternate experience whilst building the community of art lovers,” says Sreenivas.
For Swetha Gowri, the selection of movies is what makes these events appealing too. The mother of two who attended the screening of The Red Balloon at The Courtyard with her children says, “These movies aren’t your regular popular ones. They’re well-curated and more interesting for kids.”
But it isn’t just the young ones who get to enjoy the selection. Lonely Cow has been conducting Under The Stars movie screenings for two years now and often choose films that have mass appeal. Think Jab We Met, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hain, etc. The idea, says co-founder Abhijit Shah, is to give people an opportunity to enjoy their favourite movies in an “open-air, rustic, rural setting with bonfires and food trucks.” And such events are more inclusive too. Says Shah, “Besides families, students and young professionals, we’ve also seen people confined to wheelchairs at these events. Pet owners too bring their furry friends along to truly enjoy the experience with their loved ones.”
The price range for such events may vary from host to host, but on an average, one can expect a ticket to cost anywhere between `100-`450, a price that Qadri thinks is completely justifiable, given the infrastructure in place. She explains, “It’s all about the experience being provided. Sometimes, my partner and I can step out for a small stroll to discuss the film. Where do you get to do that in a regular theatre?”
For parents at regular movie theatres, there’s no bigger nightmare than a crying child and glares from fellow movie goers. These open air screenings, on the other hand, prove to be a boon to parents, who say kids prefer the non-restrictive environment and the freedom to move around. “At our last screening of Shrek, my son wasn’t too comfortable with one of the slightly scarier scenes in the film. But instead of being confined in his seat,he had the option of taking a stroll around the space till the scene was done,” explains Gowri.
When and where
● The Nightmare Before Christmas at The Courtyard on November 10, 7pm.
● SteppinOut Movie Night’s kids edition will screen Ratatouille at The JW Marriott on November 25