THE SHOW GOES ON
THE WEEK|October 25, 2020
THE SHOW GOES ON
In a year-long project, former cinematographer Hemant Chaturvedi travelled across 11 states to document 525 single-screen cinemas
ANJULY MATHAI

Hemant Chaturvedi, 52, who has done the cinematography for films like Company (2002), Maqbool (2003), Ishaqzaade (2012) and Kurbaan (2009), remembers seeing his first film as a six-year-old at a single-screen cinema in Assam, where his father, an Air Force officer, was posted at the time. “It was one of those makeshift cinemas where you watched the film sitting on Dalda tins. The I.S. Johar film was about a dog and a rifle. Halfway through the film, the reel got burnt and we returned home. That was the end of that,” he says with a laugh, adding that he has always wanted to watch the rest of the film on YouTube but has never gotten around to it.

Over four decades later, Chaturvedi was at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, which he attends every year. Last year, though, it was a bit “overcooked” because of the political situation in UP, so he decided to take a walk to the Allahabad University. “I get my best therapy when I wander off somewhere with my camera bag,” he says. Along the way, he saw a dilapidated single-screen cinema and went inside to take a look. That was a defining moment for him, when the idea of travelling around the country to document such cinemas first took root. He visited two more of them in the city, one showing B-movies with the audience mostly comprising drug addicts and prostitutes “making mischief in the corners”.

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

October 25, 2020