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I Am Vexed

Fuck, that was far more stressful than a trip to the cinema should be. I don’t know how many terrorist attacks on cinemas there have been in India, but at the PVR multiplex (four screens) you’re not allowed to take in bags (women’s bags seem to be exempt), cameras, and a whole list of other things.

Obviously I had my laptop case and camera with me when I went to see I Am Legend this morning. I made a bit of an issue of it, asking if they had lockers (which they didn’t) and what people are supposed to do. The guards said I could come in, then I had to wait again queuing for a ticket. By the time I’d got my ticket, supervisors had been called down and they eventually stored my bag and camera in an office.

The auditorium was pretty empty when I got the just after the start of the film (I’d already seen the interview with Dr Krippen in Hindi, so I suppose I didn’t need to see it again). five or ten minutes later a group came in and sat near me, and just kept chatting and laughing all the way through the film.

And a few minutes after I decided I’d had enough and changed seats there was an interval. An interval! In a film less than two hours long. The only other time I’ve known there to be an interval during a film was one of the two times I saw The Two Towers at the cinema.

Then, of course, everybody left via the fire exit, and I wasn’t prepared to try bucking the trend. So then I walked a long, circuitous route down corridors, down stairs and up stairs back to the cinema’s entrance. Where I was patted down again by a guard, who also wanted to see inside my wallet. Clearly, Indians regularly carry firearms and explosives in their wallets.

The film itself was very different from the book. So different, in fact, that the meaning of the title is completely different in the two mediums. And that’s OK – films and novels (actually, I Am Legend is more of a novella – the volume I read a few months ago was half comprised of short stories) are completely distinct from each other and work in different ways. I liked it. I would have liked to have seen the completely bleak ending of the book transferred on to the screen, but in a Will Smith blockbuster that’s unlikely to happen.

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