The first day first show of Fanaa at Menoka turned out to be a playback of the fantastic Fridays of yore, when a star release meant one big party at the neighbourhood theatre.
STANDALONE CARNIVAL: This was not about hushed silences, careful whispers and polite applause of the multiplexes. The 990-strong audience at Menoka made enough noise to make Eden Gardens proud, from high noon on Friday. All they ' mostly gangs of students and groups of housewives ' wanted was to have a good time. So, they screamed and shouted, hooted and whistled and made themselves heard throughout the three-hour Kunal Kohli film.
The popcorn may not have been that crunchy and the cola not that cold, the air-conditioner not that strong and the chairs not that comfortable, but as the golden images rolled on the silver screen, nothing else really mattered. As the cheering grew louder inside the hall, the crowd outside swelled in anticipation.
STARSTRUCK: Shah Rukh, Abhishek, Amitabh, Rani and Preity (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) at the start; Hrithik (Krrish) and John (Kabul Express) at the interval. They did get their share of applause, but the day clearly belonged to Aamir and Kajol. If the Aamir factor wasn't enough, there was the added appeal of a Kajol comeback and their debut as a screen couple.
Seeing them seemed more important than hearing them out. As Zooni muttered to Rehaan under her breath, '...Tere ishq mein meri jaan fanaa ho jaaye', the crowd erupted and from then on, most dialogues were drowned in the din. The decibel levels rose to a crescendo every time the two broke into a Jatin-Lalit ballad. Teenager Bharat later summed it up: 'Watching Aamir and Kajol together is an absolute treat and although I only go to the multiplexes, Fanaa at Menoka was great fun.'
HOUSE FULL: When did you last see a Rs 125 balcony seat going, going, gone for Rs 500' Fanaa on Friday put paid to the theory that people suffer a single-screen theatre only because of the low price point. Clearly, it is the movie that matters, not the non-filmi frills of a multiplex when it comes to a Bollywood blockbuster.
And there was no geographical divide in the demand either. With no multiplex in Calcutta screening Fanaa, similar Friday frenzy was reported from Hind and Minar.
'We have been forced to add morning shows at Menoka, Hind and Elite on Sunday,' said Bengal distributor Pritam Jalan.
Thanks to Chand sifarish, single screens are on song again.