Sunday, December 07, 2003

If tomorrow comes... at Fun Republic

Two FREE tickets to watch the thumpingly-successful, heavily pre-booked blockbuster KHNH. On a Saturday afternoon. At a multiplex not too far from home. With a free meal and soft drink thrown in…

This was like having your cake and eating it and marrying the rich, handsome baker as well!

Ok, rather fanciful analogy. But then we’re talking movies, remember. Where life inevitably sashays towards a happy ending. But first, there are twists in the plot… And I got more than a fair share of them when I landed up at ‘Fun Republic’.

On first glimpse, it resembled a State of Chaos. A higgledy-piggledy mix of steel, glass and concrete which stuck out sorely in a conservative landscape. Food courts, play stations, coffee bars, candy dispensers – all the trappings of ‘fun’ were in evidence. But for some reason, I simply disliked the place.

We took the glass elevator to the loftily-titled ‘Xenon 3’. And waited to be ushered inside.

25 minutes later, we were still waiting. The foyer got crowded and soon every available inch was covered. I was hemmed against the wall, when the lights went out. Groans of dismay arose and soon turned into mutinous rumblings. If the snag wasn’t rectified soon, Fun Republic would have a bloody uprising on hand.

Thankfully, it was a momentary lapse and minutes later, the recalcitrant masses were herded into the auditorium. Our FREE seats turned out to be smack in front of the big screen. But before we had time to rue this, the lights dimmed and the opening credits appeared.

The first stirrings of romance were being kindled, when the lights went out again. A howl of protest erupted. Being stuck in the dark with fragmented images of a promising love story was downright frustrating. If this was a rock concert, a rude chant would have gone up…

10 minutes later, the lights came back. All was forgiven and we were ushered back into dreamland.

We were hooked as the hero liberated his lass with a single-line profundity. But then the screen went blank even while the audio continued. We were torn between hollering loudly and hanging onto the dialogue, allowing our fervid imagination to supply the images. Was this a state-of-the-art multiplex or a banana republic? I certainly wanted to secede.

A few more of these unscheduled intermissions and the fragile link was broken. We were no longer swept up in the intense emotional drama. Still a lone tear escaped my sardonic gaze as the hero lay on his deathbed. But even that turned to mirth a moment later.

A star-struck tot had climbed onto the stage. His mother made a frantic dash for him. Unbelievably, a classic chase scene was being enacted live. The onscreen drama forgotten, everyone applauded when the long arm of the law caught up with the errant youngster.

Thus, an utterly forgettable movie experience was salvaged by an impromptu addition to the screenplay.

I walked away marvelling at how the kid had intuitively grasped the movie’s philosophy of ‘living like there was no tomorrow’.