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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

Standalone cinema in Bangalore seeks debate on banning children under six years

Cinema-in-charge Dheeraj SJ, who signed the note, has attributed the suggestion to audience feedback

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 12.11.23, 05:21 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

A standalone cinema in Bangalore has identified a crying need: banning babies from movie theatres.

Victory Cinema, one of the best-rated single-screens in Karnataka, has in a media note sought a public discussion on the need to deny entry to under-six children to avert the problem of crying children disturbing viewers.

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Cinema-in-charge Dheeraj SJ, who signed the note, has attributed the suggestion to audience feedback.

“It has been our usual practice to take feedback from our audience,” he told The Telegraph. “But over the past month we have been specifically seeking their opinion on what they thought of children crying during shows.”

He said the general view was to restrict the entry of infants and very young children. “Most of them complained that wailing children spoiled the cinematic experience,” Dheeraj said.

He specifically mentioned the film, Killers of the Flower Moon, that Victory Cinema had screened in October.

While children are usually not allowed in for movies certified “A”, young parents often carry infants into cinemas if they cannot arrange for someone to look after them at home.

The Martin Scorsese film, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro, is a slow burner that runs for about three hours.

“We received verbal complaints about children crying during this show several times,” Dheeraj said.

He said the cinema management was considering opening a childcare centre in the building where parents can leave their children. “This will take some time since it involves hiring qualified caregivers,” he said.

“But we are certainly going to take up this matter (of restricting very young children’s entry) with the film chamber and other film bodies to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Deepak Gangadhar, a working partner with Cine Galaxy, a three-screen multiplex in Surathkal, Dakshina Kannada district, some 300km from here, too felt that cinemas opening childcare centres would benefit the parents of young children and other movie-goers.

“Some cinemas in Bangalore had childcare centres but not anymore. I feel it’s time to revive this valuable add-on, which can bring parents with very young children back to the big screen,” Gangadhar told this newspaper.

“A few restaurants and casinos in Goa have childcare centres where dedicated staff members look after the children. It’s high time we borrowed this model.”

Gangadhar, formerly a manager with PVR Cinemas in Bangalore, admitted that crying children was an issue, especially in the big cities where young parents work and live away from their families.

“In smaller towns like Surathkal, people usually have the option of leaving their children with their grandparents or other family members,” he said.

Cinematographer Sameer Tahir, however, said the “irrational use of mobile phones” was the chief cause of visual and aural disruption at cinemas.

“I don’t think a child wailing is that big an issue. To me, the irrational use of mobile phones is the biggest nuisance,” he said.

Tahir, who produced the critically acclaimed 2018 Malayalam film, Sudani From Nigeria, about the passion for football in Malappuram, did not feel that banning babies was necessary.

“I won’t say children shouldn’t be allowed. Of course, a crying child could cause some disturbance but
I have come across a child crying only in about one in ten shows, which is eminently excusable,” Tahir said.

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