Reporters on the Job
• A Taste for Three-Hour Flicks: After five years in India, staff writer Scott Baldauf has developed a taste for Indian films. So he enjoyed covering "Krrish," the new film about India's own version of Superman.
"Watching a three-hour-long Hindi language film, with no subtitles, might seem like torture, especially when that film is aimed at children," he says. "But I've become quite a fan of Bollywood movies, from gritty gangster films like "Company" and "Maqbool," to the soppy urban romantic comedies like "Dil Chahta Hai" ("What the Heart Wants") and "Kal Ho Na Ho" ("Tomorrow may never come").
Scott says that Indian cinemas are increasingly comfortable, with reclining seats, Dolby surround sound, and air conditioning that help the song-and-dance numbers go down. "In the hot Delhi summer, what's not to like?" he says.
Yes, but three hours?
"I suspect the films are that long for the same reason that American restaurants serve dinners that no single human can finish: to give the customer a sense of value for money. (A Bollywood film in a Delhi theater costs about $2.75 per ticket.)
"In any case, I noticed that whenever the hero, Hrithik Roshan, broke into song, audience members would head to the washroom or the snack bar."
David Clark Scott