The idea of a drive-in theatre isn’t new to India: older Bengalureans converse of 1 such theatre on Bannerghatta Road in the ’80s. And there are nonetheless a handful scattered throughout the nation — Chennai’s Prarthana Beach Drive-in Theatre, Ahmedabad’s Sunset Drive-In Cinema, and Gurgaon Talkies in Gurugram. However, juxtaposed with plush multiplexes, this model of going to the films appeared dated, even out of date.
Till, COVID-19 modified the world. With bodily distancing norms in place, drive-in screenings could also be the different movie buffs are searching for.
Sushen Kakkar, venture head of SteppinOut which organised the screening of Grease, says: “SteppingOut Movie Nights has done outdoor movie screenings for the last three or four years. The idea for the drive-in screenings came about because people in Bengaluru haven’t had the opportunity to go out and watch a movie since mid-March. We were trying to find a way to innovate and make it a safe experience.”
Stating that they plan to announce extra exhibits, Sushen says that as of now, screenings are scheduled for the upcoming Thursday, Friday and Saturday (the Sunday screening moved to Thursday after the Karnataka Government introduced a complete lockdown on Sundays and the timings and tools needed to be modified after the change in curfew timings). A ballot is run on Facebook to decide on the movie on a specific theme; the upcoming themes are horror, animated and Hollywood comedy. The choice for the subsequent screening on July 9 is The Conjuring 2.
- Audio: To hearken to the audio, one has to obtain an app, WaveCAST Audio Receiver, and join the cellphone to the car’s audio system. The audio from the movie will play via the car’s sound system.
- Food: It will be ordered via the Dineout app; and will likely be left on the hood of your car.
- Hygiene: Sanitisers, masks and wipes will likely be handed out to prospects. They might want to put on masks in the event that they step out of the car to make use of the washroom, for instance.
“The core idea is that there will be only 17 cars (with a maximum of four persons in each car) per screening. Plus, being in your own car enables you to socially distance better than in any other situation. We’re not looking at it as a very large event with a lot of people and a lot of cars. These are small premium screenings.”
Adding that there’s undoubtedly going to be a pattern of extra drive-in screenings/theatres, he says, “All over the world, drive-in theatres have seen a huge surge in the last three months. There are other people who have been planning drive-in screenings in Bengaluru and other cities. But to make this work you need to be able to have a really large space which is not on offer to everybody. I personally feel that for the remainder of 2020, this will become the new normal to watch movies. This is the way forward. At least until safety and health conditions come back to normal.”
With all tickets offered out final Saturday, it does seem to be there’s an surge of curiosity in these screenings.
Says Dheeraj Kumar, pub proprietor, who plans to attend the upcoming screening. “I think the concept of is awesome. It’s the right time for the trend to pick up and I’m sure it will outlast the pandemic. Just imagine. Everyone in their cars being able to peacefully eat and drink and watch a movie.”
Tickets to the drive-in screenings can be found on timbreblr.com. Early hen tickets are priced at ₹1,199 for every car; common tickets at ₹1,499.