Movies first?

Just got back from watching the last show of Krrish at PVR. I liked the movie well enough, the actor was believable as a superhero, the hi-tech futuristic equippment did not look like it was 20 years old, and the special effects did not look plastic or too animated. But this isn't about the movie. This is about the movie theater, specifically PVR cinemas at Hyderabad Central.

If you are familiar with Hyderabad Central, you will know that it is a 6 storey building with two levels of basement parking. Levels 0-3 house the mall, level 4 is a foodcourt and level 5 is the multiplex. To get to the multiplex, you either take the stairs and/or escalator through the mall upto level 5 or you go to the back of the building and fight your way into a lift to get up there. The inside of the multiplex is the standard plush PVR decor. The loos are clean and equipped and "audis" have deep pile carpets and very comfortable seats.

The movie ended at about 12:40 AM, and the audience headed toward the single exit door that had been opened. After probably circumnavigating the whole building in a narrow corridor (made me feel like I was at the Tirupati temple) we reached the equally narrow staircase. The good news is that the flooring on the stairs is not as slippery as the one inside the mall. Now for the bad news. For the late show, a whole throng of people have to walk seven floors down a single narrow staircase to reach the parking lot (or at least five to reach the exit). This is because all the exits to the mall from each floor are close. So here we have a slow-moving river of people, kids, grandparents, et al walking slowly down. And then two floors down, we encounter the wonder of wonders. Three buckets of water left upon the landing, and one that has been upturned.

Holding on to the stair rails to keep footing in my heels (of course, I had not come prepared for an adventure trek), I somehow reached the ground floor, where we were all ejected out of the building. Now, to get to the basement parking, we had only one entrance. The same one that the cars and bikes were coming out of. Trying to drive your vehicle up that exit ramp is hard enough with the steep incline and the strategically-placed speedbreakers. Now you have to evade an oncoming stream of pedestrians as well!

My only thought during this whole exit (which took a full 15 minutes from getting out of the auditorium door to getting out of the gate on our bike) was "what happens if there is a fire?" People may recall that this theatre had some delays in opening due to lack of proper fire exits. And that it had opened after installing an external fire-escape staircase. (I can't find the link to this at the moment, but I'm looking). Imagine the stampede of people during a fire, pouring out into the corridor from all five auditoria instead of one, running about 200 mts to get to a narrow staircase which may very well be innundated with buckets of water. I don't want to imagine it. But I couldn't think about anything else for those 15 minutes and all the way on the ride home. I have decided not to visit the theatre for a night show, and if it can be helped, for any show. It's all very well to put the "Movies First". But what about the movie-goers?

7 comments:

spiralarchitect said...

Very true...the PVRs and the INOXes of this world can be truly dazzling with their tubs of popcorns and cup holders...plush carpeting, neon lights etc...but then they value aesthetics more than safety. Moreover, these are typically part of a mall and the prices they command to set up shops are astronomical which means for benifits of space you compromise on safety. its been more than 6 months since i went to a theatre to watch movies..well now i prefer to relax at come with steaming coffee and maybe some nice cookies while i watch my movie...gonna get me a projector soon !cheers

Aparna said...

I had noticed that at the beginning... other than fire, imagine old people, pregnant ladies...all walking down so many floors. During the otehr shows, they can still enter the mall through the fourth floor, but after the night show, there's no other way than to walk down those 5-6 floors.
I find Prasadz better in this regard.

TaRuN said...

Secret tip - tell them you have a sprained ankle/arthiritis/lymphosychoma of intestine (use ur imagination) and can't walk down the stairs. They will let you go by the elevators :)

manish said...

Yeah,true,PVR severely lacks space in terms of safety and "what happens if there is fire" definitely should be a matter of concern,especially for a Multiplex which can support no less than 1000 people at a time.

The only advantage that PVR has ,over IMAX,I suppose,is the privilege of ordering for snacks while at the movie :-)

Tanushree said...

@Aparna:
Yes, you are right. Even in normal circumstances, the elderly, disabled, etc. must have difficulty walking down those stairs.

@Tarun:
Do they let you take the lift even after the night show? Isn't the whole mall closed by then?

Hiren said...

From the way you have described it, you have to be a super person to watch the movie too. Requires loads of patience with some Cinema halls. IF you want to see what kind of a super person Hritik is in real life, you may take a look at my review.

Suresh said...

we think like this, when we get thought, after that we forget. Can you tell me after this incident, how many times u been to PVR ?

Cant we pppl really fight back together ?