Over View of Satyam Palace in Mamura Village, Noida. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Important Notice at main entrance of Satyam Palace in Mamura Village, Noida. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
One of the owner and staff Dinesh Pandey is giving ticket to his customer. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A Man who waiting for his show is showing ticket of satyam Palace to camera. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A man is going inside of Satyam Palace for watching his film. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A Man is crossing inside passage of Satyam Palace. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Show is about to start. A staff of Satyam Palace is playing film on DVD player. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Group of people is enjoying film in Satyam Palace. You can also see a man is sleeping on bench inside theater. Photo: Vikas Kumar
Reaction on the face when he is watching film inside theater. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Movie theatre with tickets for Rs 15-20 in the heart of Noida? It exists
In one corner of Noida lies the nondescript village of Mamura. Right from the entry point to the village, the poor socio-economic plight of the residents is obvious. Wherever you see, there are heaps of garbage. The stench of the overflowing sewage is unbearable.
Mamura lies in the heart of Uttar Pradesh's most advanced industrial hubs. However, the winds of progress seem to have bypassed the village. The population comprises of migrant workers from other parts of UP and Bihar, who work on daily wages in Delhi and Noida. They have live in Mamura for decades.
Satyam Palace runs in a two-room house with a projector and a CD player. It is the only way the villagers get to watch their favourite film stars, which include Mithun Chakraborty, Sunny Deol, Ajay Devgn and Govinda.
There are four shows a day in the cinema hall. Every show plays a different movie, most of them old releases. Tickets are priced between Rs 15-20.
As I stand outside Satyam Palace, the second show of the day is in progress. The movie being played is 'Jurm', a 1990 film directed by Mahesh Bhatt, with Vinod Khanna, Meenakshi Seshadri and Sangeeta Bijlani in lead roles.
The proprietor of Satyam Palace, Dinesh Verma, says: "Most villagers have cellphones these days. Many also have internet facilities. But they still like to watch movies on the large screen."
Asked if he is able to meet the expenses of running the theatre at such low ticket price, he replies, "We don't spend a large sum running this cinema hall. We only show old movies. Normally, about 100 people come to watch each show. Most of these are permanent customers. They buy tickets while going to work and watch the movie after coming back."
I ask Dinesh to take me to the room where movie is being played. He agrees, but with a word of caution: "You are welcome inside the hall. But, it's hot inside as these people don't allow the fans to be switched on during the show. It will be pitch dark inside."
Nevertheless, I enter the audience hall with my camera equipment. There's no entrance door, just a heavy curtain. Light fills the dark room as the curtain is disturbed by our entrance, causing a slight commotion among the viewers.
As I expected, there is sweltering heat. But, I was not told about the beedi and marijuana smoke that is choking my senses. I somehow stagger up to the front portion of the room, near the screen.
Some people have noticed my presence, while others are still too immersed in the movie. I seem to be an unwelcome guest at the show. I take some pictures in haste and come outside. I certainly don't want to interrupt their entertainment.
Dinesh welcomes me back with a smile. "What can you do? They insist on smoking inside, and start shouting if fans are switched on. I rarely go inside when the show is running," he says.
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