Monday, July 02, 2007

Sivaji Adventure

Even though I am not much of a Rajini fan, Sivaji bug has stung me as well and was looking for an opportunity to see the much talked about movie in US. I first attempted to see it in Dallas but was surprised to see it showing in Little Rock, AR but not in Dallas. I was able to catch up with Sivaji in NYC but not without a little bit of an adventure.

I am staying in close to Central Park and figured out concierge would be able to locate the cinema. I gave myself about 2 hours for commute and thought would be sufficient to reach in time for the 3:00 PM show, but that wasn't enough for the surprises in store.

First the Hotel staff didn't know the exact location of Bombay Theater and the best they could do was to point me in the direction of Jamaica subway train. I figured, I could figure out from there, but that was not to be.

After a long commute in F train to Jamaica station, I couldn't find a soul who knew this theater. One guy who appeared to know this place suggested I take Q17 bus to Flushing and ask the driver who would most likely know.

After a long wait, I did board the Q17 bus, but the driver did not know about this place at all let alone the theater showing Indian movies. As I was contemplating my next move, I heard few folks talking in Tamil in the back of the bus and quickly went up to them to seek help. They knew about the theater but didn't know where it was. They were kind enough to call one of their friend to find more information, only to tell me that I was in the wrong bus going in the opposite direction.

They advised me to trek back and catch Q30 bus to Utopia and 69th Ave. So, I was pretty much back to square one, but wasn't going to give up, at least not as yet. For some strange reason, I resolved to get to the theater even if it was going to be well past the start time.

I walked back to the subway station and was looking around for some help and a Indian newspaper vendor came to my rescue. He suggested me to take a cab instead of waiting for the bus. I decided to take his advise and to my delight a cab station was right across from the station. A Hindi speaking cab driver readily took me to the theater for USD 8. He knew the place like the back of his hand and drove to the place while chatting in a heavily accented Hindi with someone in his mobile phone.

I felt a sense of accomplishment as saw the rundown Bombay Theater. I quickly hurried into theater, paid USD 15 and quickly went inside a almost empty theater to see Rajini singing Ballelaka song. Mission accomplished.

So, was the Sivaji movie worth 7 hours and USD 31 (4 - subway, 4 - samosa & coffee, 15 - movie ticket, 8 - cab). The movie was not.. but the adventure was..

Director Shankar has taken a pretty serious subject of bribery / black money but has treated them in a very casual manner. Sivaji has lavish sets, gravity defying fight sequence and unnecessary romantic dream songs. And oh by the way, it also has a thin story line around bribery and black money.

Rundown Bombay Theater but attracts affluent Indian crowd
Bombay Theater is a pretty old rundown place but attracts affluent Indian community and their fancy cars. The crowd you see was for a Hindi movie. Sivaji which runs just one show a day had very sparse or no patronage.

Utopia / 69th Ave stop for Bombay Theater
This is where I had to get off if I had taken the right bus. I did manage to take Q31 back to subway station on my way back though..