Anam Raheel

“Can you take me to prom Mr. Shrek?” acting this out had suddenly crossed my mind after a glimpse of Shrek’s life-size statue where his arm bent in just-the-right pose. There was an array of all those you wanted to see and touch when you were a kid. Hadn’t the Disney dream just come to life? It had. It truly had.

The walls smelled of fresh paint, the handles had never been touched, the chairs had never been sat in, the glistening counters had never been used – the reflection in all of them was of course untainted. The circular mirrors were oh-so-pretty while I stood staring at myself. Narcissism – its bad they say, but who cares when the mirrors please you, well at least they allow you to dance in circles while the Disney world lights up your fairytale; blue, red, green it blinks.

Stepping inside Super 1 my ears could already hear emptiness of that huge hall speak, the carpet seemed to sink in with every step I took, while the massive silver screen stood before me screaming out nothing but glory. It was bright, and shiny. I turned to the invisible audience, rows and rows of blue was all an eye could see, but I could almost hear “Applause, Applause. Movie brilliant”. I knew the show was to take over senses. Humans allow that. Indulgence. Our favorite sin. Let’s do it again. 

The dust had settled now. Red wires, black wires, white wires – all had undergone morphosis – they were lights now, bright spot lights. Mere glass and wood had turned into angles and frames. It was now a birth. It was a flower blooming from the loam with its healthy stems pushing away the soil while it  emerged in its beauty – all that was new, fresh and scented, wasn’t it a visual feast?

I had stood there glaring blindly into the minute white spot of lights staring right back at me with more vitality. “We are bright” I could almost hear them too. Soon enough I was informed that they were raw and had to be covered to complete the look. “Why covered? They were so dreamy” I had thought. But don’t we always say this before our dreams formulate into a better reality? The empty moulds were now filled, the voids were now embellished, and the floors glowed as the shoes made a tapping sound.

My right hand held the wooden panel followed by the left one. There was life; the world below was all set aflame. It was Lahore. The city of lights. Standing above the entire plethora of beings I realized how brilliant aerial views were. Everything was so small. The drill machines and little plugs had built something sturdy and stout. It stood there in a form unseen before. The sawdust had become magical.

Children are often anxious and intrigued, I still am. Super 3 was yet to be explored. It was red; the depth of the color soaked me. The recliners were simply so inviting, so I sat while my fingers touched the control slightly, aha! I could almost rest right there in the front row! Let me admit it was hard deciding to step up and go back to work. While the padded walls spoke of rich plums and blues, you could just stand there and feel them.

An anxious wait to see the working of the projector room made me realize it wasn’t an illusion – it was the actual world of cinema unleashing itself.

The reel had started rolling and the countdown had begun. That little box of light held a complete story, a script, and a narration, an entourage of skillful masks that had been worn and acted time and again. We indulged in catharsis and loved it. This was a movie and this world of projection was now a stage. These very halls allowed our minds to descend into a world behind the screen – for a minute we are simply a part of it. Let us appreciate technology for once – for capturing humans as they were and then displaying it so luxuriously your heart would melt and be coated again in all that which actually glitters. This was Gold Class. Remembering the emptiness again I could picture a day – the clattering of heels, the brushing of clothes, the raucous laughs and the giggles of children. This place was to encapsulate life and showcase another flick – this time of an Audience.  To them it was Super Cinema – Super Cinema Multiplex they call it.  To me it was a Phoenix - Vogue’s Phoenix. It had risen out of the ashes into an entity which stood right there before eyes.