Bhutto: What more could you ask for?

Sanam Maher June 14, 2010
I am someone who has saved the ticket stubs for every movie I have been to since I was sixteen years old. I could watch paint dry, as long as it is projected onto a screen in a darkened cinema hall. But this Saturday, I would have gladly burned to the ground a certain cinema near the sea.

I was there to watch Bhutto. How was the documentary? It would have been nice to see it. Literally. The film was in a widescreen format that did not fit the cinema screen and hence, the documentary came to resemble a student art-film replete with fractured, disjointed images. I feel worst for one faceless woman who was interviewed – all we saw was her chest and heard her disembodied voice.

At the end of the day, this is Pakistan. We have all had our share of pirate films. It was ultimately the audience that made Bhutto such a unique experience.

A woman sitting in front of me brought her two young children to ostensibly give them a crash course in Pakistani history, complete with a child-friendly version of the Hudood Ordinances. And I’d like to recommend the lady sitting two rows behind me as a translator to the film’s producers, should they need one. This lady’s friend did not speak a word of English and needed all content translated into Urdu for her – it was like a live version of Cliff’s Notes, complete with discussions about Benazir’s children, family and clothes…

To the gentlemen sitting next to me: perhaps the lack of ashtrays was your first clue that this cinema was a no-smoking zone?  For future visits, I believe the cinema needs to issue this caliber of visitors with some guidelines – foremost on the list would have been the request not to treat your usher like a waiter at Rajoo Ice-cream and ask him to fetch you tubs of Movenpick Ice-cream.

Ultimately, I’d like to thank KESC – two power breakdowns forced us to sit in the dark and ruminate on the contents of the film. Perhaps this might have been more interesting if we didn’t know how the story would end? The cinema displayed a 30-second countdown on screen for the duration of these breakdowns. Of course, keeping Pakistan Standard Time in mind, these 30 seconds stretched into five minutes during one power breakdown. The very helpful cinema staff ensured that once the film was back on, we were able to recap what we had already seen.

For Rs350 per ticket, what more could you ask for?
Sanam Maher A freelance writer who has been associated with the print and electronic media
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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