The Sathyam Obsession

After a long time I finally got down to watching a movie that brought back some of my fast depleting faith in Indian cinema. Piku, not only exemplified the virtues of a simple story with strong characters, but also proved that there is not only hope but definite freedom in the minds of our story tellers and it shows in the lines they write, the characters they build and the stories they tell. A big hug to the entire team to have created something so simply brilliant.

But more on the movie later. This post is reserved for an obsession that refuses to leave me...

I moved to Bangalore a little more than a year ago from Chennai. While the move and all that followed has been well documented in other posts and Facebook updates, a majority of my mind has inevitably begun to find a soft spot for Bangalore. I walk to work, so I see lesser of the traffic and I feel all is fine. I live in Indiranagar which by far is the capital of the civilised world and in that pride my chest does swell a tad bit more than required. I like my coffee places, I adore the breakfast joints, I never stop meeting interesting people and there is just never a dearth of stuff happening in town, just a dearth of time to do anything about it. But even then, there is that one thing, that will just never be the same again. My movie watching experience!

Chennai will always define me as a person like no other city ever has or will, but even though I can confidently say that I wear that more as a badge of honour than a scar that I like showing off, the experience of watching a movie in Sathyam (And Escape) will never completely leave me. Ever! Every time I walk into a theater in Bangalore, no matter how good, I am reminded of the enveloping warmth and brilliance that is Sathyam (And Escape). When I walked into Sathyam (And Escape) watching a movie was never about the ticket and the movie, it involved so much more.

There was always this palpable sense of excitement when I knew I was going for a movie there. It never mattered if the movie was good or not, the excitement was just there. The excitement would begin to build hours before even getting there. Emails would get typed faster at work, the Activa would chug along a tad bit smoother through the traffic and the traffic lights just never seemed to turn red. Dinners before the movie (Chinese or Frankies) would always be a fun and hurried affair, because we just couldn't wait to get into Sathyam (And Escape). Once in, the general buzz of the place, the collective coming together of so many kindred souls in one place was always electrifying. Chennai took its movies very seriously. We cheered together, laughed, cried and groaned together. We even sometimes put popcorn in our mouths at the exact same moments during the movie. The popcorn too undoubtedly played a pivotal role in guaranteeing you were always transported to a different universe while in there. You always will want more butter stuffed in to the popcorn and more cheese poured into it. The autonomy that Sathyam (And Escape) gave you to create your own popcorn concoctions was just unbelievable. We would come together on so many nights irrespective of the movie to create combinations of food and beverage that we would talk about the next day. We would talk about the chocolate donuts at breakfast next morning, the cold coffee at tea time and invariably we would be back in Sathyam (And Escape) the next night discussing how we want our popcorn.

Sathyam (And Escape) was never about the movie alone but about all the elements that just magically came together to make each of those nights. You would drive back with this quiet admiration every time because even if the movie disappointed you, Sathyam (And Escape) would have made the night special for you. Because watching a movie in a cinema hall is meant to be special. It is meant to invigorate you and place you in a room with a large number of strangers to bring you together. There are fewer experiences that consistently produce this feeling of togetherness. Cinema halls across the country are doing this every day...

Sathyam (And Escape) just do it heartbreakingly better than the rest.