Mirror Magazine
23rd January 2000

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Hearts beating at the theatre

By Laila Nasry

Finally the queue began to move, snaking its way up two floors of Majestic City. The lucky ones who had come early scrambled through a small door and headed towards the ticket counters. Those at the rear pushed forward, hopeful of getting close to that all important entrance. But suddenly the door slammed shut and "full house" boards went up. Those left out, pressed vainly against the glass doors, but the 524- seat hall was filled to capacity.

Yes, the Titanic had finally hit town, some two years after cruising the rest of the world. Yes, the blockbuster Hollywood movie was first released to enormous hype in 1998. Some called it a masterpiece... a brilliant movie while others dismissed it as the most overrated film ever. Whatever it may be, the waiting for Sri Lankans has been a long one. While fans elsewhere were hyped up and going to the "movies" to watch "Titanic" we had to be content with watching it on video, drooling over Leo and Kate and wearing "Titanic" t'shirts or carrying "Titanic" bags. But it has finally come (we have to be thankful for small blessings, eh?!!).

So is the general public still goggle-eyed over "Titanic" or is it just another movie to fulfil the appetite of the quality-starved movie- goer? The Mirror Magazine went to cinemas to find out.

The majority of those who had queued up outside Majestic had watched Titanic on video at least once, as it was the most talked of movie of recent times. What brought them back to see it once again was not so much the storyline, but the experience of watching it on the widescreen. However, there still remained those who hadn't seen it at all and were curious to take it in, like Mrs. A. D. Pragnasena who was going to see it for the first time on the big screen. "I wanted to see it because my daughter told me that the ship hit an iceberg. I was wondering what the captain was doing at the time. So she brought me here to watch it."

However, most viewers were cynical of the fact that the movie got to Sri Lanka two years late and felt that "the hype is dead". Yasmin has watched the Titanic 10 times over. "I've been waiting for it to come, but it has come too late," she said. Friends Sriyanka, Lalinka and Roshani were of the same opinion. "In our country everything comes late, we've got used to it, but the fever has died down."

Surprisingly the queue to watch the movie also contained those "anti-Titanic" people. Shanika and her friends were there not because they liked the movie or thought that Leonardo DiCaprio looked cute but for the mere fact that it was Thai pongal, the shops in the mall were closed and they had time and money to spend. They are glad the movie was here, even though two years late. "It would have been worse if it came any earlier. There would have been no controlling the crowd. As it is, there is a queue," they said.

That Sri Lankan cinemas are starved of good movies is a well- known fact. Thus this scramble to watch the "Titanic" is partly because it has been ages since a family or teenagers have headed towards the cinema to watch a movie ľa quality one. Young teen Rashida had come to see a movie after almost two years. "We get lousy movies. It's really horrible. Good movies are just once in a blue moon."

As the saying goes, better late than never and two years on seems like no big deal. The movie that swept the Oscars, winning 11 Academy Awards is here. To hell with the hype, the high ticket price or the soppy love story. This is history (in an enlarged version). You've got to check this one out!

Is marriage old fashioned?

I admired the two interlinked rings that were highlighted in a wedding card I had received. Young Anoja who has a tendency to view most things in a rather jaundiced manner asked me, "What does a wedding ring really symbolize - is it just used because of tradition or custom? Maybe," she added, sniggering, "that is the reason, for even though some wear it, they give others a 'come hither look'. It sure is no great protection, for I have seen those wearing the ring and yet having fun with some other than their husband".

Anoja is very explict in her comments! But I tend to think a bit differently. A ring, the circle round one's finger, expresses the bond of marriage. It announces to all 'he is married and has a wife' and 'she is married and has a husban.' Anoja was at me again. "You say it is a message to others to keep off, but what if the wearer does not exactly give that message?" I think when a man and a woman exchange rings at the wedding they believe strongly in that bond they have established, 'With this ring I thee wed' is the line of a popular song and in the joy of being married, that ring is a visible reminder to themselves and the community that they have pledged themselves to each other 'for better or worse, in sickness or health".

Anoja laughed. My comments were totally old fashioned, she said. "Ah," I told her, "Marriage today appears to be fast becoming an old fashioned concept, what with living together and single parents and all manner of ideas the west is exporting to us! But whatever the new ideas are, marriage will survive. The problem comes when the couple forget the significance of the ring they wear. It expresses mutual love and acceptance, a giving and a receiving. The gold in the ring does not get tarnished or corroded, but the relationship between the partners could. In the home, the husband and wife know each other's weaknesses and faults but problems surface when sympathy is sought and offered by others especially those of the opposite sex."

"That is true," said Anoja. "I remember a friend of mine who was working, often the husband did not help in the housework. One day when she came back home, there he was watching TV and the cups were yet unwashed and the house a mess. She was furious. But instead of telling him, the next day in office, she confided in her boss, and lo and behold before anyone knew what was happening, her boss not only offered her 'tea and sympathy' but a shoulder to cry on, a loving embrace and so on and so forth.

"One thing led to another, and today I think her husband is no longer interested in cricket matches and my friend does not care very much what happens, she is yet walking on clouds." "You are quite right," I said, "she is yet walking on clouds, for her boss with his pretty and rich wife will never want his marriage broken and when your young friend gets less attractive or more demanding for his affection, he will just drop her and where does she go from there? I would think that whatever the problems between her and her husband, they should be sorted out by themselves or with the help of elders in the family, not outsiders. After all, the ring is a sign of exclusiveness - 'you are mine and I am yours' and we will work out our life together. The important word there is Together."

Anoja was thinking that out when I had to leave, maybe she will come up with another of her ideas, next week !

Our lovey cover girl this week is Maria De Bond. Her outfit was created by Brian Kerkoven and her hair and make-up were by Kamal Hettiarachchi of Ramani Fernando Salons. Maria was photographed on location at Manika Dick Dumas by Anuruddha Medawattegedera.

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