VIDEO: Cinema under a bridge offers daily dose of Bollywood to India’s destitute

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In India’s capital, rickshaw pullers get their daily dose of Bollywood at a makeshift cinema hall under a century old bridge.

The floor of the bridge makes for the cinema’s ceiling. Old beddings and rags are used as floor and curtains. The cinema shows films 24x7. The viewers pay less than tenth the price they would pay at a multiplex.

The films screened are a mix of new releases, old classics and a few Hollywood flicks. While some are chosen by the organizers, others are on-demand. Organizers use a TV set and compact disc player to screen films.

During night-time, the cinema doubles up as a shelter offering comfort from scorching heat. The average attendance is somewhere around 25-30, and, on good days, it is known to have gone up to 100.

Twenty years and running

Lately, the numbers have dipped because of the rise in number of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. Vijay Kumar, care taker and organizer, said that the cinema is more than 20 years old.

“We choose the films. Most of the times, they (viewers) like the films we screen. They demand old films, new ones as well as Hollywood. We have to cater to their demands. Around 100-150 people come every day,” he says.

The shows begin at 8am and continue till the next morning. “There are times when people have to go for work. While some (remaining) prefer to stay, others plan to watch movies later at night,” Kumar said.