On a rainy evening in October, 700 people turned up at an auditorium in a quiet part of Bandra, Mumbai, for a screening of curiously chosen Hindi film clips. The screenwriter Kiran Kotrial, who had organised the show, took the stage at 8.30 to offer a word of advice to his viewers: “Please don’t behave yourselves. Let this evening be like a noon show of a Salman film at Gaiety.” Kotrial needn’t have bothered. The rain had not dampened the enthusiasm of the crowd—good-looking hipsters in wispy white dresses, television actors wearing static expressions, and Puneet Issar.
The event was called Timepass Talkies and featured a collection of technical gaffes, continuity glitches and funny moments, culled by Kotrial from Bollywood films. In one clip, a villain’s pet tiger lets out a bark instead of a roar. In another, a background dancer makes faces every time Shammi Kapoor passes her. In several sequences, a heroine’s hair interferes with an intimate moment, once it even snakes up a hero’s nostril.
This was the first time that Kotrial, who wrote the screenplays for films such as Bodyguard and Kambakkht Ishq, organised Timepass Talkies as a ticketed event. Prior to this, it was an invitation-only, underground affair, funded by Kotrial and his friends, who would rent out a small screening space to watch films that he had picked out. Over the last 11 years, they put together 14 such soirées, at first drawing friends and industry-wallahs, and later, other regular enthusiasts. Early on, the event was held every six months, but its frequency soon tapered to once a year. Over time, Kotrial’s cache of film material has grown, although a lot of the show remains the same.