At The Movies: Last Film Show

Young boy, Samay (Bhavin Rabari) arrives home to find his Brahmi parents and younger sister getting dressed up, with the surprise announcement that they are going to the movies. When Samay queries why, since his father is opposed to movies, he is told “once you’ve seen this one, you’ll never watch another again”. He considers movies as not appropriate for their family, but “this one is different, it’s a religious one”. Samay is captivated by the lights coming from the projection room and transforming into moving pictures on the big screen.

On the way home in the train he announces that he wants to make movies when he grows up, and is suitable chastised by his father Bapuji (Dipen Raval) and receives a slap from his mother Ba (Richa Meena).

Set in 2010 in a small town in north-west India called Chalala – the same district where Ghandi was born – life is hard and conditions very poor. Bapuji makes a mediocre living selling tea to passengers on the trains when they stop briefly in their town, with Samay being the seller. The young boy is determined to see more movies so he wags school to take the train to town and sneak into the cinema. He is soon caught and literally thrown into the street, where he meets a bedraggled-looking Fazal (Bhavesh Shrimali). When Samay gives his lunch, lovingly prepared by his mother, to Fazal the latter takes him up the stairs and into the projection room!

A friendship starts to bloom as Fazal is captivated by the delicious food. Being a lover of Indian food myself, watching the lovely Ba prepare the meals each day had me salivating as they looked absolutely delicious! Meanwhile, back at the cinema, Fazal teaches Samay how to splice and join the movie reels and explains how light shining through the images projects them onto the screen.

Samay starts to take offcuts from the movie reels to show his friends, and using scraps found in dumps etc, sets up a psuedo-cinema in an abandoned building which, legend has it, is haunted. Meanwhile there are changes happening in their town, with many trains now not stopping – hence affecting the family income – and the cinema needs repair work to remain open.

Samay’s dream of becoming a movie producer are looking more and more unrealistic as time progresses. I found the film quite captivating and was fascinated by the initiatives and inventiveness shown by Samay. I watched it a couple of times and enjoyed it more second time around! It is definitely worth a visit to the cinema.

Movie Review By John Glennie

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