Sitting underneath the celebrities: What’s it prefer to catch a film inside IIT Madras’ Open Air Theatre?

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Sitting underneath the celebrities: What’s it prefer to catch a film inside IIT Madras’ Open Air Theatre?
Sitting underneath the celebrities: What’s it prefer to catch a film inside IIT Madras’ Open Air Theatre?



Staying again with umbrellas within the rain to a deer’s sudden however dramatic cameo, what’s it prefer to catch a film at IIT Madras’ Open Air Theatre?

Staying again with umbrellas within the rain to a deer’s sudden however dramatic cameo, what’s it prefer to catch a film at IIT Madras’ Open Air Theatre?
An enormous wall has been the only real witness to seasons of the 12 months and scores of IITians who graduate from Chennai yearly. This long-standing wall, kissed by the pokey branches of timber on both facet, and embraced by the hum of the wind, lights up as soon as each week with shifting photos that casts luminous shadows on its spectators.It’s usually mentioned that cinemas supply the means to a community-watching expertise. However IIT-M’s little-known Open Air Theatre (OAT) takes the argument additional: sitting underneath the celebrities on a moonlit night to catch a Hollywood blockbuster or an Indian masala movie has its personal charms. In case of a boring film, you’ve got the posh of mendacity nonetheless and gazing on the stars, singing in refrain with the night birds. In case you are fortunate, a blackbuck may even gate crash the film.When a film is performed at OAT, nothing stops the screening. Not even the rains. There have been cases the place folks stayed again with their umbrellas held open. (That is the place a few of your wildest date night time goals come true!)However nothing beats the palpable thrill and collective excessive that ran on the campus through the India vs Sri Lanka World Cup remaining in 2011, when Dhoni hit that last-ball six. It was maybe the primary time a cricket match was projected at OAT for the campus of us. These are only a cream of a treasure trove of reminiscences one would affiliate with OAT.The house was closed for renovation simply earlier than the pandemic. Two years on, the theatre has now been reopened for screenings with the recently-released Samrat Prithviraj because the opening movie. “We haven’t renovated the theatre for a very long time after which got here lockdowns. Now that issues are again to regular, we thought we must always begin screening movies once more, and college students are additionally again on the campus,” says Jitendra Sangwai, who took over as president of Movie Screening Membership, IIT-M, final month.A professor with the Chemical Engineering Division, Jitendra’s position because the president is to make sure smooth-sailing of operations — from number of films and taking in solutions from college students and employees to overseeing funds and negotiating with native distributors.
A short historical past
Designed after the Roman amphitheatre, OAT has a seating capability of 6,000 with its central stage measuring 120 toes X 80 toes, sporting a 50-feet-wide, 24-feet-tall display. It has 4 entry-exit gates: principal, household, pupil and backyard.Due to the Indo-German collaboration through the Chilly Warfare, the IIT-M was established in 1959. However the basis stone for OAT was laid by Dr. Heinrich Luebke, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, when he visited the institute on December 3, 1962, thereby additionally marking the inauguration of the theatre.The preliminary concept of OAT was to perform as a standard house for institute-related occasions and particular events. Films had been initially screened on Sundays, which was later modified to Saturdays at 8pm. Till the development of the College students Actions Centre (SAC) in 1983, OAT served because the house for Convocation and Institute Day. Highlighting the significance of the then newly-constructed OAT, IIT-M’s first director, Prof B Sengupto, was quoted as saying, “The stage is for group appearing, people dances, acrobatics, and video games like basketball, volleyball, badminton and tennis. It has been supplied with illumination for conducting these video games at night time and likewise for the projection of movies.” There isn’t any clear image on the very first movie screened at OAT. However due to S Ramanathan of the 1969 batch who had written down the checklist of flicks in his diary, it’s recognized that classics equivalent to Born Yesterday (1950), Dial M for Homicide (1954), Operation Petticoat (1959) and The Anatomy of Homicide (1959) had been among the many earliest films screened. It’s protected to imagine that the institute was primarily screening English movies in its preliminary years.
Convocation and Institute Day had been held at OAT again within the day
| Photograph Credit score: Heritage Centre, IIT Madras

It’s showtime
IIT-M’s campus is a microcosm the place a number of cultures and languages meet and for that purpose, regional language movies are given equal precedence. A typical schedule in OAT’s calendar seems like this: a Hindi movie within the first week, whereas the second week and fourth weeks are often reserved for English. Third week is for Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam. If there’s a fifth Saturday, then a kids’s film — both animation or fantasy — is screened. There’s an energetic Scholar Movie Membership that works intently with Movie Screening Membership. “We flow into a type asking for college students to vote when three good films launch on the identical date and we’ve to determine on which one to get. However that occurs hardly ever,” says Ajay Singh Sitole, pupil basic secretary, Movie Screening Membership.  The alternatives, nevertheless, are made based mostly on IMDB (Web Film Database) rankings which are above seven. ‘R’ and ‘A’ licensed films are largely prevented, except there may be appreciable curiosity. “Our choice relies on the leisure issue. We attempt to keep away from controversial movies, since it’s largely a family-friendly crowd,” says Jitendra.“We now have to provide you with the schedule for a month within the first week itself. As soon as we finalise the films, we should determine which distributor to strategy and whether or not they could be keen to present a print on that particular week and so forth. Our screenings rely on all this,” says C Rajendran, secretary of Movie Screening Membership.  
A blueprint of the OAT
| Photograph Credit score: Heritage Centre, IIT Madras
Rajendran joined because the projectionist in 2001 and continued until 2011. The projector was upgraded from reel to digital in 2011 and since 2013, OAT has been utilizing a 2K projector with DTS sound system. Whereas screenings are largely restricted to college students, employees and residents, the institute does permit visitors who wouldn’t have membership playing cards. There are over 2,000 membership playing cards issued to college students who need to pay ₹25 every month, along with the playing cards issued to employees and college.
OAT through the daytime
| Photograph Credit score: Srivatsan S
Jitendra says they spend someplace between ₹15,000-25,000 plus GST for film rights, which involves a few lakh and 15 thousand every month. “That is for college students and we don’t make any income. The leftover cash is put in a hard and fast deposit underneath Movie Screening Membership, which we use for different functions. There’s an annual upkeep contract we’ve signed for the projector and sound system, which prices over two lakh a 12 months.”OAT, in the end, is a bioscope to campus life. “There’s all the time an curiosity particularly amongst outdated college students. They usually share their favorite reminiscences of OAT,” says Jitendra. With inputs from Heritage Centre, IIT-M



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