CINEMA

During my schooldays in Saligão, I saw only one movie.

Since the villages did not have electricity, the only cinemas were in Panjim, the capital of Goa, and the district centres of Mapuça and Margao that had electrical power to run a movie projector.

Having been to movies in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika, before coming to Goa, I missed this form of entertainment at first, but I soon got over it. Our preoccupation with village games and the great outdoors made us easily forget about Hollywood’s attractions.

However, with religion being such an intrinsic part of Goan life, the rare movie about a Catholic saint or a biblical event never failed to catch our attention. And one such movie was Samson and Delilah.

Now, Samson and Delilah was not only a biblical film, but a Hollywood ‘extravaganza’ – two powerful draws that made me want to see it …if my mom would let me.

My mom was very frugal in managing her household budget, and she did not have much spare money to spend on unessential things such as a movie – an item that would have featured way down her list. She also felt that if kids did go to a movie, there should be some form of adult supervision.

With two strikes against me, my chances of getting to see Samson and Delilah seemed remote. But that’s when there occurred some divine intervention.

The godsend was the chaplain of our ward’s St. Cajetan’s Chapel. He was a young outgoing priest who was more progressive than his older traditional colleagues. He wanted to see the movie, and felt that we, too, should see it.

So, he asked my friends and I to seek permission from our respective parents to let us go see the movie with him. Needless to say, our parents agreed and somehow found the money to pay for the outing.

So, one afternoon, we rode to the movie house in Mapuça on our bicycles, some of which were ‘hired’.

46cinemaThe movie house was a corrugated iron structure with rows of benches near the screen, and chairs at the rear. Admission to the rear section cost a little more than the forward section. We sat in the rear section.

Since the movie was a ‘matinee’, all doors and windows were shut to keep out any daylight. I don’t recall if there were any ceiling fans, and neither do I recall if we felt the heat and humidity. All that concerned me were those tiny holes in the corrugated iron roof through which rays of light shone on the screen.

Anyway, there was no power failure, and we got to see the entire movie. We talked about it for a few weeks before it became just another episode in our rural life.

Today, technology may have dramatically changed cinematic craft, but the only aspect of the movie industry that has survived the test of time is our fascination with film (and now, TV) stars