Television wasn’t introduced in Mumbai till the ‘70s. The main visual entertainments were street performers, cinemas, and plays. Popular films ran in the same cinema for years. One such film was Junglee (Wild Man). Kids in my neighborhood were singing the title song for months on end. I was five and begged my mom to take me to see this film. She eventually scraped together the money to take me. It was my first ever foray to a cinema. My next visit to a cinema was six years later, in Hong Kong, on a Sunday when you could get in before 11 A.M. for 70 cents. For that princely sum, we could only afford one ticket so my brother and I squeezed into one seat. Fortunately, we were both undernourished, so skinny enough to be able to sit comfortably on one cinema seat at Hoover Theater in Causeway Bay. I don’t remember what we watched, but I do remember Junglee, the title song, many of the scenes, and even some of the dialogue almost six decades on.
It’s true what they say: you never forget your first.