IMPHAL June 24: After more than a decade, an English action film “Fast and Furious-5” was screened today at the Usha cinema hall located at Paona Bazar amidst loud cheers and frantic rush to get tickets, young crowd thronged and filled the 900 seater cinema house to finally enjoy a Hollywood blockbuster on the big screen after the long lull.
On the opening day of the film today the box office recorded three sold out shows.
“The turn out of the audience was beyond our expectations, we have heard the clamour of the public yearnings to see English movies at the theatres and finally decided to take a trial and screened this Hollywood film. It’s been a long, long time since we saw such a packed audience”, said a beaming Syamsunder, manager of USHA cinema hall to IFP.
He further stated that the last English film screened at the theatre was “Star Wars” way back in 1999.
“After the ban of Hindi films by insurgents, the English movies also died out as modern Manipuri digital films edged in to fill the gap and have been totally dominating the industry ever since, a Manipuri digital film was screened in our hall till yesterday, we will see the developments and further try to upgrade our sound system to a more state of the art device to cater to the upbeat crowd, hopefully if the turn out of the fans continue like today”, he said.
A movie goer Kumar candidly said “ Today’s audience is something we have never witnessed before, the crowd consisted of ladies and family members mostly till yesterday, now it’s the young ones, the ‘Yo’ crowd today”, he said. He ushered this reporter inside the hall to point out some fans sitting at the passageway. “It’s a packed crowd, they insisted that I let them in”, he added.
Ibemhal, a woman selling tickets (locally known as ‘Kala Bazar’) said that they had a field day in selling their tickets. “Normally for Manipuri films, we get an average of Rs 50 profit per show from selling tickets and most of the time we have tickets left over. Today we sold out early and got more profits”, she added happily.
Talking to some youngsters, they unanimously voiced satisfaction after watching the action packed film.
Jimmy, a Hollywood movie buff cheerfully said, “Now, my yearning to watch the top blockbusters on the big screen is finally fulfilled, Manipuri films have become sort of mundane and the plots are mostly similar besides it’s no fun to watch the Hollywood movies in DVD’s all the time by yourself, the thrill or ambience of a movie theatre is different”, he said.
The Hall has the largest capacity of 900 seats among the three surviving theatres in the heart of the city namely Friends Talkies and Pratap Talkies.It conducts three shows daily beginning from 11 am, 2 pm and 4.45 pm. The tickets costs Rs 15, 20 and 25 for front, rear and balcony seats.
The other prominent theatres Mini Friends, Victory, Shankar Talkies, Mini Shankar, Asha and Jina hall, Imphal Talkies have become shopping centers and educational institutes following the ban imposed on Hindi films by a militant group since 1999.
USHA Theatre targets the global release of the latest from the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallow part 2” as it’s next release.