We doubt whether even regular 'multiplexers' would be numb to the woes of having to rush to a movie on the top floor of a multi-storeyed mall
. However, going through a pins-and-needles wait for the semi-occasional lift, while darting all over the floor to see which elevator is ready to get into, and meanwhile missing the one you just ignored, is better than climbing 5 flights of stairs that remind you of a walk through the forgotten bowels of some mid-city office complex. Or is it?
Big Cinemas, located in the smog-choked heart of the city, isn't very different in that aspect. Indeed, while you're waiting for the lift, you could be hit by a brainwave - a less claustrophobic way to enter Big Cinemas is to wade through that smorgasbord of 'everything including the kitchen sink', called Big Bazaar
Commercially purposeful layouts aside, you will also discover the twin benefits of that approach (you get to float by on the escalators, and
you get the exercise by walking round each flight to catch the next one), and you finally reach the place where they claim to take entertainment seriously.
But first, a drab, cluttered hall to remind you to deposit all extra baggage, eatables, sharp objects and anything that is likely to offend general public (defined as security personnel at the entrance). Then, get into single file and proceed through the beeping gates.
After the customary shakedown past the metal detector, you enter the lobby of the multiplex. Places like these make you feel that this is what any self-respecting movie-watcher deserves - the floors sparkle, the seats indulge, the bathrooms gleam, and the attenders seem to like you. There's a price to be paid for self-respect, though - a bite and a glug bought here can empty your pocket if you're not carrying plastic money.
Apart from the regular snack counters, there are other options for the ravenous here, including a Cafe Coffee Day which occupies most of one side of the floor, and a milk-shake stall whose offerings have the potential to have you jump all over the place in raptures of ecstasy. Okay, not that much ecstasy, but enough to make you feel sinfully content to be humanly sinful. If all this has got you into deep celluloid mood, you could browse the manned racks peddling Big's digital discs.
The waiting area has a proportionately more seating than Prasads
. 4 screens make up this multiplex, and at the time of writing this (March 2009), one of them has not been inaugurated yet. Unlike those of other cities, Hyderabad's multiplexes still suffer from class-indifference - every seat is priced the same, irrespective of how close you are to the screen or how far your seat reclines back.
A week-day afternoon at Big, specially at a B-list movie, can feel very desolate or very private, depending on what your mood is like. But then, the staff to audience ratio and the earnest on-seat service make you feel pampered, as though it were a private screening you were invited to, just so you can be waited upon with larger and larger vats of whatever it is you are gorging on - of course, as your wallet gets lighter and lighter.
On the whole, if you can grin and bear with the journey to the 5th floor, right from the disinterested parking attendants to the squirming at the security rituals, Big Cinemas gives you a good time at the movies.