Bollywood and cricket are two things that Indians swear by. Bollywood has become an intrinsic part of the Indian social fabric, starting and influencing many fads and trends. Salman Khan’s latest hit Ek Tha Tiger and its massive first day collection brings into focus one of the most popular and celebrated trends followed by movie buffs, watching the first show of a movie on first day of release. To call ‘First Day First Show’ a trend would be an understatement. It was a rage, something for which Bollywood fans competed with each other and upped their collars with pride when they could.
“The biggest prize of watching the first day first show was the bragging rights. If we saw it, we would rule the conversation and tell others we have already seen this movie. It used to be a great pleasure,” said Jyotsna Joshi, president of Mansi Group. For the generation that enjoyed this trend, the procuring of first day first show tickets have now become tales of triumph, laced with bittersweet memories. Cycling many kilometres, standing in long queues under hot sun is not something these film fanatics minded when it came to booking seats.
Nothing was too much to get these prize tickets. Jayshree Panchmatiya, a housewife, said, “Bunking college for watching movies was nothing. We saw the first day first show of Sholay in 1975 buying tickets in black. It was totally worth it! With such a big star cast, it was a must watch first day.”
But with time, this craze, this madness seems to have watered down. Now the queues in front of booking windows are not that long, and the excitement in today’s crowd seems to have subdued. According to many the novelty factor is missing from new movie release. “Due to boom in information technology nothing is secret anymore. The ads and the trailers spill the beans and thus most of the fun is killed,” said Saket Agasti. Earlier, there was no TV or Internet, so the content used to be a surprise.
Sanket Parma, another fan, said multiple print releases and multiplexes have helped curb the trend. According to him, now there were so many seats available. “With multiplexes, the number of seats and shows have gone up. Anything available in excess is never sought after. Earlier, seats were limited and thus they were in demand, now getting hold of first show tickets is nothing great,” he said.
Another reason is movie reviews being out on the day of release itself. “Also, sometimes people don’t have time on Fridays and prefer to watch movies over the weekend,” said Digvijay Sonak.
There are still some who enjoy the thrill of watching a movie first day first show. They say that the craze for watching this particular show is still there and only the huge availability of seats now hides that fact. “The trend is still there, no doubt. Just the viewership has been distributed over many theatres that have sprung up all over the city. Big movies and stars still attract a large crowd. Salman Khan’s Eid releases are a great crowdpullers for first day first shows,” said Pramod Kumar Munot, owner of Panchsheel Cinema.
In fact, PVR Cinemas launched in Nagpur with Salman’s Ek Tha Tiger and ran 15-17 shows on its first day. “Nearly all the shows, including the first day first ran almost houseful,” said Nishant Tandon, junior manager, PVR, Nagpur.
“First day first show craze is still prevalent and especially with multiplex tickets becoming available at comparatively cheap prices, the trend is here to stay. As a matter of fact, on the first day itself, Ek Tha Tiger earned a thumping Rs34,36,200 in Nagpur itself,” said Iqbal Ahmed, local representative of the film distributors.
“Good movies and fans can never be kept apart,” says city businessman Gaurav Medha, adding, “it might be a fact that all the movies don’t attract many first day first show enthusiasts. That may be because the sheer number of releases now a days. Personally, whenever a movie with good actors and which looks interesting is released I make it a point to watch its first show.”
“It’s basically satisfying your curiosity. The film could be so many things, it’s finding out what it exactly is and that is the true joy of watching first day first show,” said Narayani Ghatwai, a film fanatic.