Objective View: Should outside food be allowed in theatres?

By Naresh Kota Dec. 10, 2019, 11:59 am IST
Objective View: Should outside food be allowed in theatres?

We all have been to multiplexes at least once in our lifetime and the exorbitant prices of food & beverages sold in their food courts, theater premises would have surely baffled you. Some multiplex chains make profit only through food sales and they have submitted that information to Supreme Court, as an answer to question, why they should be allowed to charge high for drinks and food, severed on their premises! Court did not like the answer and they said that every citizen has a right to bring their own food item to enjoy the viewing experience even at theatres and they also directed the multiplex chains to not restrict people from carrying their own food items into their premises. Hyderabad Police have confirmed that no theatres can restrict people from carrying their own food items into the theatres, as an answer to new RTI petition.

Well the question is, even if it is should we carry outside food to theatres? Or is it better to fight for reduction in prices of food items served by theater owners, who run canteens? For us, it is better to restrict ourselves from carrying outside food and ask for less prices.

Just imagine the work load you have to put-in for carrying the food baskets, for preparation of food items and the safety measures we have to take to see that our items are safe with us. Theatres mostly don't allow baggage inside the screens and they offer a safe deposit, with their security rather. This gives us time to relax and concentrate on the film.

Now, imagine you had an accident of sorts and cool drinks, coffee or popcorn/solid food item gets spilled all over the walkway and on our dress too. Popcorn is easy to clean, nachos/samosa/pizza leave minimal stains if we clear them fast and cool drinks don't leave a smell on clothes or floor, if we clean them in say one or two hours. But stains- yes, hard to tackle.

On contrary, let's imagine you carrying with you some box of rice or some other food item that you love to eat while watching a film. It takes at least half-an-hour in traffic to reach the nearby multiplex. And for a family to get ready, it takes easy 45 minutes to one hour. If we have some Dad's little princesses amongst our ranks, it may take longer too. (Don't get offended, it is a fact!) So, you have to prepare food at least one hour or two hours before you decide to start for a multiplex/theater to watch the film.

However good the hot pack is, after 2 hours, food will definitely smell. If we think about carrying popcorn or oily snacks, they will loose their essence in these two hours and they lose their "edibility", at times. However, in advance we may plan, going to a theatre is not going on a train/trip/to a park for picnic. Theatres are reserved to have a delightful viewing experience with top quality sound, picture.

Odour, outside sound are major disturbances in our completely immersive experience. Audio-visual medium wants a person to be completely immersed into what it has to offer, good or bad. But chewing sounds, smell and spilling accidents can turn it into a disaster. Many don't like to hear to others speaking while they are watching the film and hence, immediately ask us to maintain silence at all times. Do you think, it is advisable to carry food from long or short distances to such a place?

It is better to fight for reduction in prices and also ask the theater managements to come up different quantities of food packets than just say that we will carry our own food. However legal it might be, it just doesn't sound practical. Just imagine the plight of a cleaning crew member and the amount of bleaching powder, detergent and chlorine they have to use to clean the walkways and seats to get rid of the smell, wastage for other screenings.

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