Life & Style

Missing the cinema? Catch a movie from your car in Bengaluru

Movie-lovers recently gathered to sing along to ‘Greased Lightnin’ and catch up with the Pink Ladies and T-Birds, from the safety and comfort of their own cars, at Timbre near Bengaluru international airport. Sounds like a scene from the 1978 movie, Grease, (remember Danny and Sandy at the local drive-in?)? Well, it came close.

The concept of a drive-in theatre is not new to India: older Bengalureans speak of one such theatre on Bannerghatta Road in the ’80s. And there are still a handful scattered across the country — Chennai’s Prarthana Beach Drive-in Theatre, Ahmedabad’s Sunset Drive-In Cinema, and Gurgaon Talkies in Gurugram. However, juxtaposed with plush multiplexes, this version of going to the movies seemed dated, even obsolete.

Till, COVID-19 changed the world. With physical distancing norms in place, drive-in screenings may be the alternative film buffs are seeking.

Sushen Kakkar, project head of SteppinOut which organised the screening of Grease, says: “SteppingOut Movie Nights has done outdoor movie screenings for the last three or four years. The idea for the drive-in screenings came about because people in Bengaluru haven’t had the opportunity to go out and watch a movie since mid-March. We were trying to find a way to innovate and make it a safe experience.”

Stating that they plan to announce more shows, Sushen says that as of now, screenings are scheduled for the upcoming Thursday, Friday and Saturday (the Sunday screening moved to Thursday after the Karnataka Government announced a total lockdown on Sundays and the timings and equipment had to be changed after the change in curfew timings). A poll is run on Facebook to choose the film on a particular theme; the upcoming themes are horror, animated and Hollywood comedy. The selection for the next screening on July 9 is The Conjuring 2.

How does it work
  • Audio: To listen to the audio, one has to download an app, WaveCAST Audio Receiver, and connect the phone to the car’s audio system. The audio from the movie will play through the car’s sound system.
  • Food: It can be ordered through the Dineout app; and will be left on the hood of your car.
  • Hygiene: Sanitisers, masks and wipes will be handed out to customers. They will need to wear masks if they step out of the car to use the washroom, for example.

“The core idea is that there will be only 17 cars (with a maximum of four persons in each car) per screening. Plus, being in your own car enables you to socially distance better than in any other situation. We’re not looking at it as a very large event with a lot of people and a lot of cars. These are small premium screenings.”

Adding that there is definitely going to be a trend of more drive-in screenings/theatres, he says, “All over the world, drive-in theatres have seen a huge surge in the last three months. There are other people who have been planning drive-in screenings in Bengaluru and other cities. But to make this work you need to be able to have a really large space which is not on offer to everybody. I personally feel that for the remainder of 2020, this will become the new normal to watch movies. This is the way forward. At least until safety and health conditions come back to normal.”

With all tickets sold out last Saturday, it does seem like there is an surge of interest in these screenings.

Says Dheeraj Kumar, pub owner, who plans to attend the upcoming screening. “I think the concept of is awesome. It’s the right time for the trend to pick up and I’m sure it will outlast the pandemic. Just imagine. Everyone in their cars being able to peacefully eat and drink and watch a movie.”

Tickets to the drive-in screenings are available on Early bird tickets are priced at ₹1,199 for each car; regular tickets at ₹1,499.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 4:39:54 PM |

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