Oh happy happy day! I love New Shahrukh Release Day! The preparation and excitement are almost as much fun as actually seeing the film (sometimes more fun, RAEES! You were not a fun experience at all! Good movie, not fun).
I really want to go in blind this time, so I’m not even going to give a “report from the front” news about box office or anything. But I do want to mark the start of this magical time, so I thought I could at least share my Shahrukh Day rituals and preparations, and you can feel free to share yours (if any).
For the past 9 releases, everything since Ra.One, I have gone with 1 to 7 friends for opening night. Which means 2 weeks in advance I send out a text to everyone on my movie night list (11 people) reminding them of the release date. And then another text a week in advance. And then finally when the showtimes are up.
(We danced in front of the screen when this played over the end credits. Well, they danced. I stood awkwardly to the side and held their purses)
Of course, the showtimes only give us about 48 hours warning, so then there is the mad scramble of figuring out who is giving who rides and how we are meeting at the theater and so on. For Fan, it worked out being only 3 people besides me and it was playing at the theater right off the train near my neighborhood, so we just met there. For Dilwale, it was a total of 8 people, and I only have 5 spaces in my car, and it was playing at the mall theater (RIP mall theater, Fitoor killed you) that you can only reach by car. So there was an elaborate scheduling of multiple cars arriving simultaneously and the poor people who got there first having to fight tooth and nail to hold 8 seats. For Raees, it was at the downtown theater and only one friend plus her husband could come. We made the husband sit on the end and ignored him most of the time, because Shahrukh Day isn’t about husbands.
This time, at my two week warning I had 4 people. And then at my 1 week warning, it dropped to 2. And then the showtimes came out, and one of them wouldn’t be able to get off work in time, and the other one had to cover last minute for a co-worker who had a family emergency. So here I am, going to a Shahrukh movie alone for the first time in 7 years. The last one was My Name is Khan, which was kind of good because by the end of that I was sobbing like I was going to die, and no one needs to see that.
I’m kind of excited! Just me and Shahrukh, no one else I have to pretend to pay attention to. Especially for this movie. Dilwale with 8 friends was a total hoot. Literal “hoot” too, you couldn’t hear the dialogue for much of the film because my group, and the rest of the 80% female theater, was hooting so much. But this movie looks less “hooty” and more thought provoking and witty and stuff.
(Yes, the wet white shirt got hoots. Obviously)
The actual Shahrukh Day rituals remain the same whether I am going to the theater alone or with friends. In the morning before work, I put my hair up and wear make-up for once. I put on one of my really nice dresses that I never bother wearing (nice that this is an Independence Day release instead of Diwale, he must be so sick of seeing my nice fall dress, good to change things up with my nice summer dress). I spend all day at work refreshing the ticket screen until I finally give in and pay the convenience charge to purchase tickets in advance so I won’t have to worry about it being sold out. I run out the door at 5 and rush to the theater. And then I stand in the hallway for 20 minutes waiting for the last show to let out. But it’s worth it, because now I am positioned to elbow all the aunties out of the way and run in and grab the center seat in the first row.
And then I sit there for 10 minutes waiting for the film to start and trying not to make eye contact with the other people coming in. This is the part that it is really nice to have friends for. Because otherwise I am the strange white girl sitting front and center at a Shahrukh movie. And I am too shy to just strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me and explain that I really am in the right theater, I’m not confused or lost or anything.
And then the film starts! And it’s different every time of course. Sometimes it is upsetting and terrifying (Jab Tak Hain Jaan! THE KISS! My arms were almost bruised the next day because my friends were grabbing me so tightly). Sometimes it is a delightful surprise (Ra.One! Way more enjoyable on the big screen than I thought it would be!). Most often lately it has been uneven (Dilwale, Happy New Year, Raees, Dear Zindagi, lots of good moments, and also moments where my mind wandered and I looked at my watch).
(Just to clarify, Dear Zindagi my mind never wanted when Shahrukh was onscreen. He was SO GOOD in that movie. And SO HOT)
And then after the movie is over I always do the same thing. I wait all the way through the end credits and read all the names, and then I stumble out of the theater, and on the way home I play the whole movie over and over again in my head until it is locked in forever. And then I get home, text the whole movie group if it was good or bad, and start firming up my schedule for my 2nd-3rd-4th watches with everyone who couldn’t come the first night (this time, it’s looking like Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday).
So here I am today, at work, with my hair up in the way that kind of makes my skull hurt but looks fancy, trying not to rub the mascara off my eyes or bite the lipstick off my lips. I’ve already given in and taken off the heavy earrings, but I’ll put them on again at the end of the day. And I am wearing my shoes with heels for once and trying not to topple over. And in 6 hours, I will run out the door (well, as fast as I can go in heels) and jump in my car and drive drive drive, and then sit not making eye contact for 20 minutes. And after that, who knows? I’ll cry so hard my mascara runs, or I’ll laugh so much my lipstick wears off, and then I will stumble home late and wash my face and change into comfy clothes and write a nice blog post for you all. The new part of my ritual, since the past 2 years.