Thursday, June 21, 2007

Drive-in Cinema in Coastal Karnataka

This post is an English translation of one of my Kannada article, which you can read here.(I contributed as guest writer at Majavani, an award winning and popular Kannada blog)

Non Kannada readers will need quick background info before starting off with the article.

Udupi and Mangalore (aka Dakshina Kannada or South Canara) districts are located in coastal Karnataka, India, stretching along the Arabian Sea in the west and Western Ghats in the east. Kundapur is a taluk headquarter, while Udupi and Mangalore are district headquarters (refer map). National Highway Number 17 passes through these districts connecting the cities mentioned above. Public transport is dominated by private bus operators as against state owned RTC buses in most of the other parts of the state. These private bus operators compete with each other in launching new and luxurious buses even for the local travel and these buses cruise at top speeds on the narrow NH17 literally forcing small vehicles off the road while these buses overtake each other. Ticket prices are high compared to RTC buses.

Recently, some bus operators have introduced TVs and DVD players in their buses and have started showing movies on the go. This article is conceived after seeing one such bus. (Check photo) Though translation has spoiled the fun of original article a bit I’ve tried to retain the humor to the extent possible

Video coach buses were luxury in my childhood days, though now they have become common in intercity long distance buses, but of late what surprised me is that some inter district local city buses have started showing movies, in coastal districts of Karnataka.

Distance from Kundapura to Udupi is 36kms and from Udupi to Mangalore it is 60 kms. Express buses plying in this route usually take around 2 hours to read from Kundapura to Mangalore. Now that they are showing movies inside the bus,a new problem as arised: To watch the movie completely one need to travel one full trip (say from Kundapura to Udupi to Mangalore) and return back half a trip, say from Mangalore to Udupi (i.e. make unnecessary travel)

Further, audio is audible only to those sitting in first two rows, due to various disturbances such as open windows etc. These two rows have ladies reservation, because of which male passengers are unable to hear the sound. Hence male passengers have raised the request that women reservation for these two rows be suspended and declared as “Gandhi class”

Whenever there're standing seats (Passengers standing when all seats are occupied) those sitting in left half of the bus are denied this golden opportunity of watching movies on the go. Because of this people have requested for a dedicated secondary TV for left half of the bus.

Drivers have expressed disappointment that the TV is located behind their back instead of keeping it in front of them, depriving them of an opportunity of enjoying the movie while driving. They want the television to be moved forward by 2 feet more.

This journalist spoke to a lady passenger waiting for the bus in Udupi for her opinion and she said “in past 5 minutes 10 buses have left for Mangalore, none of them were showing the Salman Khan movie I wanted; hence I’m waiting for next bus. How can I reach college on time if this happens?”

Regular commuters have demanded that bus operators release time table of movies they’re going to play each day in advance, along with bus timings, so that people can check which movie is coming in which bus and board the bus accordingly.(And if the movie is to start at few stops prior to from where one would be boarding the bus, he/she can consider going back in reverse direction by taking another bus to that stop)

Is this what drive-in cinema mean? Ask villagers who have heard people from cities use that term.
Even Volvo city buses in Bangalore do not have this unique feature and we're lucky to have that...they added...

A quick video related to this is given below:

Map sourced from MapsofIndia.

Related: Photos of Manipal Endpoint (These are places near Udupi)| Raveesh's photos of Mangalore| News about GPS tracking facility is Udupi's express Buses|Photos of Karkala | Manipal Bloggers' Meet

Also read: 2-2 TVs in coastal Karnataka buses (a sequel to this post)