Are you tired of going to watch movies that involve pricey multiplex tickets and popcorn that exceeds even the cost of those tickets? Moreover, are you tired of watching commercial movies – the next one more predictable than the last one you watched? Or are you a cinema buff for whom the independent cinema selection on online portals is way too limited? The good news is that if you are looking to widen your horizons when it comes to movies there are plenty of venues mushroomed in the city that are catering to the tastes of those looking for offbeat films to watch, that too while being extremely pocket-friendly. What’s more, we compiled a list of the seven best spaces in the city for your alternative movie-watching experience where you also have a chance to engage in conversation with fellow movie lovers and perhaps even make new friends!
From the evocative world of French cinema, voices of dissent in powerful Indian documentaries to an opportunity to watch cult Hollywood films, these spots for non-commercial movie screenings have something for every kind of cinephile. Moreover, these venues, that range from mini-amphitheatres, old world cinema houses and to open-air arrangements under starry skies are bound to make your experience even more exciting.
I. Prithvi Theatre
Where: 20 Janki Kutir Juhu Church Road
One of the most iconic spaces in Mumbai, it has been a pioneer in supporting theatre for the past 40 years, and has grown into a popular cultural hub. It hosts movie screenings with its various partners; Vikalp; documentaries on the voices of political dissent in India, Max Mueller Bhavan; German films and documentaries from award winning directors and Alliance Française; a voyage into the heart of French cinema. This month look out for the powerful documentary Tiryaaq that traces the struggles of Muslim women in India to unearth the ugly casteism that lies at the heart of Indian democracy. Prithvi also has a lovely outdoor cafe to unwind after the film!
Ticket price: Free entry
Click here for more details.
II. Alliance Française
Where: 40, Theosophy Hall, New Marine Lines, near Nirmala Niketan College, Chruchgate
The hub for French culture in the city, it hosts and organises exciting workshops, museum tours, occasional music gigs, game nights and movie screenings. If you are a looking to get a taste of the evocative world of French cinema there is no better place than this one. From the classics of Truffaut, popular hits like Amélie to independent French movies, their mini auditorium is perfect to spend an evening exploring the exquisite French cinema with fellow movie buffs! This month they are having a French animation film festival that will take you into the life of a cat that lives a secret life as a burglar’s aide, to a Swiss man who must leave his quiet life to cross borders in search of a mysterious son. To watch the movies here you must be a member and we can guarantee that it will be money well spent.
Click here for membership and other details.
III. Matterden CFC
Where: 38, N M Joshi Marg, BDD Chawl, Lower Parel
Earlier known as Deepak Talkies, this theatre has been recently renovated and screens classics from Hollywood, Indian Cinema and the canons of European art house cinema every Sunday. This weekend you can experience a world where relationships are explored when one’s memory is clinically erased in The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless with the brilliant Kate Winslet and the film 2001: A Space Odyssey; Stanley Kubrick’s epic sci-fi film that takes a voyage to Jupiter with a sentient computer in order to save human evolution. In the era of multiplexes, this venue gives you classic films in the ambience soaked in old-world theatre charm.
To know more details and buy tickets click here.
IV. Movies And Chill
Conceptualised by Sunset Cinema Club, ‘Movies And Chill’ is a first of its kind initiative to redefine the experience of watching films by hosting open-air screenings. From cult classics like The Silence Of The Lamb to The Godfather, these screenings take place under the starry skies of metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
V. Harkat Studio
Where: Bungalow No. 75, JP Road, Aram Nagar Part 2, Versova, Andheri West
The newest addition to the city, this quaint international boutique space tucked away in a by lane of the city’s suburbs hosts a range of exciting cultural events from theatre performances to poetry mehfils, though they have a particular passion for moving images. Next month they are all set to host ‘The Harkat 16mm Film Festival’ that will screen both popular and new-age experimental films. Also, they will be supplemented with various film-related activities like the production of single take one minute films on a 16mm camera and conversations around the history and magic of filming on celluloid. While this month they are screening two Indian independent films – English Medium; a Malayalam film where a teacher is fired on the pretext of having an affair with the manager’s daughter and he must prove his innocence with the help of the girl and CRD; inspired by real life events a young dramatist rebels against his fascist tutor to form a troop of misfits – aiming to win a prestigious theatre competition and trying to find the hardest thing of all, his voice. With a truly relaxed ambience of gaddas and garam chai, this is the perfect place to unwind while meeting fellow cinema buffs.
VI. Film Division India
Where: 24 Pedder Road, Cumballa Hill
Established under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, a year after independence, the Film Division India is a cinema-specific venture entrusted with the responsibility of promotion, production and distribution of documentaries and short films. From powerful documentaries, regular tributes to International cinematic masters and newly restored Indian films, the Film Division India hosts a vast assortment of screenings for the curious cinema watcher.
Ticket price: Free entry
Stay updated on their movie calendar here.
VII. The Russian Centre For Science And Culture
Where: 31-A, Dr. G. Deshmukh Marg, Pedder Road
Located in a rather discreet and quiet area, The Russian Centre For Science And Culture is a perfect space to get a flavour of the daunting cinema of Russia with English subtitles. The films range from Russian masters like the great Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Eisenstein whose works are studied in film schools the world over, to contemporary directors like Aleksandr Sokurov whose film Russian Ark is a single, unbroken, 96-minute shot that moved from room to room in the Hermitage Museum to tell 300 years of Russian history. These cinematic gems are available for viewing in the city and we suggest you make a trip here soon.
Ticket Price: Free entry
To know more details visit the venue or call 022 2351 0793 between 8 AM - 8 PM any day of the week.
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