Sunday, 5 May 2013

25/01/13: A day of misfortune

Since a long time I've been trying to write this article but I wasn't able to finish it in a single flow. Today (May 5, 2013) I'm finally sharing my experience with the virtual world on 'How I tried watching Vishwaroopam despite a ban'. 

How I tried watching Vishwaroopam despite a ban

News channel 1 – Vishwaroopam banned in Tamilnadu for 15 days
News channel 2 – Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam not to be screened in Tamilnadu for 15 days
News channel 3 – Vishwaroopam banned in Tamilnadu

On January 24, 2013, around 10 pm, the Madras high court stayed the release of Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam for a period of 15 days. Being an ardent movie buff, me and my friend were eagerly waiting to catch the extravaganza on big screen on the first day, but the unexpected news came as a big blow to us. The movie was set to release in other parts of the country without any hurdles and that further disappointed us. After inquiring with some of my contacts, I made sure that the movie got a 'go ahead' in Andhra Pradesh and the Telugu version was all set to release on Jan 25. Nellore and Tirupati were the only nearby places from Chennai and we decided to pick on Nellore because of the feasibility of tickets (S2 Cinemas). That night I booked the train tickets (Jan Shatabdi express). The onward journey was in waiting list while the return journey tickets were confirmed.
'Hey, I just booked the tickets. We have our return tickets confirmed but I'm not sure about the onward journey,' I said this to my friend through the telephone.
'Are you sure that the movie will be played there?' my friend asked me.
'Yes, I just got a confirmation from S2 Nellore that the movie will be played tomorrow. Let me try for online booking. Mostly they will open around 2 am. And listen, if the onward ticket does not get confirmed, we need to head to the railway station as early as 5 am to get the tickets.'
'Okay, I'll try to stay awake,' my friend said and I cut the call.

I was awake from 12 am to 2 am and there was no sign of any online booking in the multiplex website. Then I decided to sleep for an hour. I set the alarm and woke up exactly at 3 am. Still there was nothing updated in their (multiplex) website. My hopes began to deteriorate when the onward journey train tickets did not get confirmed. I dialed my friend hoping that he might have still been awake.
After a couple of rings, he picked up. 'Hello,' it was his voice from the other side. It sounded like he just got up from his sleep.
'There is no sign of online booking and our train tickets did not get confirmed,' I said.
'So, what do we do now?' he asked.
'Let's take a chance. First we will go to the station and try for current reservation tickets. Get ready, I'll be there in 30 minutes.'

The clock struck 4 and before stepping out of my home I logged into the multiplex website to give a last try. To my surprise they opened the show slots. I immediately booked two tickets for noon show (you can find the ticket details in the pic attached to the right hand side). With a high level of excitement I left my home to my friend's and from there we headed to the railway station. After getting the tickets we roamed around the station for an hour and then got into the train which departed exactly at 7 am.

We reached Nellore around 9.40 am. Even though we were new to that place, we somehow managed to get a share auto that took us to S2 cinemas. As soon as we got down the auto and began to walk towards the cinema hall, I got a call in my cell phone. It was from my dad who informed me that the movie got banned in Andhra Pradesh too. The news shattered my excitement and it shook us up. We walked faster towards the multiplex and we found that the tickets were being issued at the counter for the movie Vishwaroopam. We felt a sigh of relief and headed to the snack counter where the online tickets were being issued. We got our tickets around 10.30 am and were waiting outside Screen 1 where our movie was supposed to be screened. We waited there for almost half an hour. Around 11 am, a representative from S2 cinemas came to us and informed that the show got canceled due to unavoidable reasons. Once again, it shook us up. We were disappointed to the fullest.

We got back the refund amount and headed to a nearby theatre which also screened this film. As expected, the single screen theatre was completely shut down with Police patrol guarding the front end of the theatre.
'Damn! What do we do now?' I asked looking at the saddened face of my friend.
'We will head back to Chennai. We have no other option left with us,' he said.

In the hot sun we walked towards the Nellore railway station. We had our return journey booked for 6 pm but that was a long way behind us. We did not feel like killing the time by watching some other movie or roaming around. Instead we got an open ticket and decided to board Navajivan express to Chennai. One of my friend (through phone) warned me that the train will be jam packed and he advised us to come back in the evening train in which we booked our tickets. We decided to give a try and headed to the platform. We reached there around 12 pm and we still had 40 minutes left for the arrival of Navajivan express. Meanwhile, we had our lunch (Veg biryani) sitting on the empty chair and shared our misfortune with each other. The train arrived at 12.40 pm with the unreserved coaches jam packed. We did not have room to enter the coach.
'What's the hell is this? Should we board this train?' I asked my friend.
'No way, it's impossible. What do we do now?' he asked me back.
'What about traveling in bus?'
'That's a bad idea. We can instead wait for our evening train,' he replied.
'Okay, then we have only one option left with us.'
'You mean Race 2?'
'Yes, let's head to S2 cinemas.'

Race 2 was released on the same day we traveled to Nellore. To kill our time we had no other option than to watch the movie. We did not consider roaming around the town as the sun was blazing mercilessly and we decided to stay indoor to kill heat (yes, January was indeed hot). We got our tickets for 2.40 pm show in Screen 3 (a smaller one). I acted as a translator for my friend as he don't follow Hindi. The movie did not make much impact on us but it indeed helped us to divert our mood from the sad ending we had that morning. The show ended at 5.30 pm and from the cinema hall we headed to the railway station. Our train arrived at 6.50 pm. We had a lengthy two hour conversation on the way to Chennai. The train reached Chennai around 9.30 pm and I got back to my home somewhere around 10 pm.

The next day, a news from a website article shook us up once again. It read – 'Vishwaroopam was screened in Nellore on Jan 25 from evening. The local Govt officials attended the screening of the Telugu version of Vishwaroopam which happened around 2 pm and they gave a go ahead for 6.00 pm show after they found no provocative stuffs in the movie'. Misfortune played a very good role in our lives on Jan 25, 2013.  In spite of all the disappointments, the day (Jan 25) will be remembered forever by me as well as my friend.


  1. So much fun to read this episode.. no wonder people enjoy other's misfortune moments.. :P And now I know where the Misfortune story got its spark ;) :D