Edward Theatre -> Edward Talkies

The building once must have been splendid. But the magnificent plaster on the balconies is crumbling, pidgeons are flying inside the theatre and leave excrements on the chairs, and the missing stones in the mosaics on the floor have been filled with concrete. The surrounding buildings are encroaching on the Edward Theatre in Mumbai, and the gate, wrought iron between columns, looks dwarf-like. Someone put a wooden sign on top, written not in English like the hewn in name of the theatre, but in Hindi: Edward Talkies.

Edward Talkies

It now is a cinema for the rickshaw-pullers and day labourers, an escape from the hard work for fruit sellers and people who load and unlaod trucks. Prices are low, a ticket starts at 18 rupees (25 cent), but on the balconies women are not allowed, because the stairs are steep and when they step onto their saris, they could fall down the steps and over the low handrail into the depth.

The heart and hands of Edward Talkies is Sanjay, the manager who cares for every wish of his costumers. As his father used to do this job before him, Sanjay grew up in the green rooms just behind the screen that are leftovers from the time when people were acting on stage. Directly after school Sanjay would sneak into the hall, collect the coins people threw at the screen back in these days, eat his lunch and dinner in the cinema chairs, and when he fell asleep, customers would pick him up and bring him to bed.

SanjaySo he knows all the Bollywood movies – and he also lives a live as tragic as a character in one of them. When Sanjay was still a school boy, he fell in love with his teacher. Knowing that it would be inapropiate to propose to her, he waited until the 10th standard – and got slapped for it. He again failed in 12th standards. Three suicide attamps followed.

But finally he won her over, despite the fact that she was 18 years older and despite the different economic backgrounds of their families. But the next blow followed. Because of her age, they can’t have children, Sanjay says. “My life is a tragedy.”

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