I was in Bangalore last two days to attend STEP-IN (Asia’s largest testing conference). For a change, we all stayed at Taj Vivanta this time. I seem to have gifted with a sense of feeling / smelling a movie multiplex, if such a place is within a certain distance away from me. As I was entering the hotel, I could feel that there is a movieplex nearby. Those who know me even for few hours easily get that I am a movie guy. It is no brainer, Srikanth got me interested with a movie plan on the day 1 evening of the conference, immediately after we completed our dinner @ legendary MTR canteen in Lal Bagh area in Bangalore.
Whenever I go out of town, few things that matters to me and contagiously to the folks around me are… where to go, what to see, what to eat, and what movie we can catch up if we can get 3 hrs of free time. Sairam immediately suggested dinner or early morning breakfast at MTR (Maavali Tiffin Room) hotel. I know of MTR brand as early as 1988, because as a student travelling to US, like million Desi Mom’s out there I have carried packs of MTR masala’s and instant Dosa, Gulab Jamun, Idli mixes. I was told history of MTR few decades ago but did not recollect it until Sairam started telling its story.
Quick Google search tells that MTR started in 1924 in the Lalbag area of Bangalore as a modest “tiffin room” Mavalli Tiffin Room. It was originally known as Bramhin’s Coffee House. In as early as the 1950’s the owner of MTR, a simple man originally from a small town near Udipi, undertook a European tour to see and understand how restaurants around the world operate. Putting those learning’s to use he was one of the pioneers at introducing sterilization of kitchen items in his restaurant.
I, Sairam, and Srikanth seriously debated about waking up at 6AM and walking 5KMs from Taj to MTR, knowing we will be gearing up for unlimited calories and thought of proactively burning few% of the calories that we are likely to consume. But we were not sure; if we want to wake up such an early morning given we are staying at luxurious Taj Vivant and we did not sleep much previous day. So we decided to go for dinner instead on the Day 1 of our conference. We could not get a taxicab, so hired an auto in the rainy Thursday evening. Though one is exposed to serious amount of dust and pollution, riding an auto in India gives a special thrill.
MTR was about 6KM from Taj Vivanta. However, distance does not matter in Bangalore. Bangaloreans always mention Distance in time. When you ask, “How far is MTR?” They would immediately ask “When are you starting.. ?” and they will answer back in number of minutes. They rarely mention their answer in terms of distance. We reached the place in about 30 minutes.. with our Auto chauffer chasing his 3 wheeler through the pot holes, open rain water drains, speeding in between buses and cars. We never felt so safe 🙂
Sairam was explaining about the importance of dining at MTR, different menu options, and all of which he heard through his parents and grand parents. Srikanth quickly googled and showed various snaps of menu items. There was eagerness and anxiety to reach the place before 8:30PM as we started to the place at 7:15PM. We kept asking our James Bond of Auto “are were there yet and he would give standard answer. Sairam called the hotel multiple times to verify the closing time. I do not remember that much anxiety going for visa @ US consulate. It also reminded me of our journey for Laxman Dosa in Hyderabad few months ago.
MTR location we visited is more than 80 years old and it was visible. It looked like Old Taj Mahal hotel in Secunderabad. We spotted photographs of ex President of India, and other political leaders (and freedom fighters) from 1940s and 1950s dining at this location. There were certificates of awards from TIMES magazine. We spotted few families, dozens of aam admi type of folks, and few students.
There were plenty of choices on menu, but only available choices were Ravi Idli, Masala Dosa, Bisibhele Bath, Kharabath. Sriknath and Sairam were hoping for Rava Kesari, an Chandrahara. Waiter confirmed that they are available on Sunday only. We ordered one of the each item and pledged to share the food in family style. Taste was authentic. Masala Dosa looked as if mountain of ghee was poured on it and competed with Laxman Dosa in terms of number of calories. We never felt so full after eating just Rava Idli, and a Masala Dosa. But was overall happy that we checked off one of the items from our listing of things to do in our life (like I said earlier, this list keeps expanding)
We took the auto back to the Taj and asked the security guard, if there is a movie theater near by. Confirming my sixth sense, he pointed out a multiplex just 3 minutes walk away from Taj. We walked to the movieplex like zombies and checked out the available options. World War Z was one of the options. Since this movie was not in my list of movies to watch, I wasn’t really excited. I was never been fan of Zombie movies. Since we have watched most of the good movies playing over there, we walked back to the hotel and decided to take a nice nap instead, given that we just had finished dinner at legendary MTR hotel in Lal Bagh area in Bangalore.
After I returned to the hotel, I have played the trailer for WORLD WAR Z and was reasonably impressed and quickly added the movie to my watch list. Our Day 2 conference ended at 5AM, and we decided to go for the movie for 5:10PM show, as I had to get back to the hotel to attend business obligations scheduled for 8:30PM. So, timing of the moive and location of the mulitplex was perfect, true to the saying.. ‘those who wish hard enough, force out there gets things aligned for you” 🙂
Movie ticket price for regular ticket at multiplex in Bangalore is 350 INR, and for recliner seat is 650 INR. It is way expensive compared to ticket price in Hyderabad, but locals attributed to high cost of real estate in Bangalore. Movie ticket price for new Hindi movie (during the first weekend) seems to be about INR 1000. I feel sorry for Non IT folks in Bangalore, who are subjected to high inflation because of the IT BOOM
We saw the 3D version of the movie WORLD WAR Z. I hate 3D version, as the quality of 3D glasses in India is quite poor, and the glasses reduces the brightness of the movies quite significantly and is a major hindrance to overall viewing experience. WWZ starts without introduction of lead characters, context of the story, and movie breezes through the full duration of 114 minutes.
Possibility of events shown in the movie happening in the real life may scare the hell out of you. It is too creepy to even imagine. Probably due to low or no expectation on the content of movie, I have enjoyed the movie thanks to crisp editing and fast paced action. Movie director seems to have taken extreme levels of cinematic liberty (almost as much as taken in Rajanikanth or Balakrishna movies) to get his point across and conclude the story. There is a scene where Brad Pitt thrown the grenade inside the plane to kill the zombies, crash lands the plane (which is 92% destroyed), gets his stomach pierced by long shrapnel walks out of the plane, gets to nearest building which happens to be WHO location which has a solution to the zombie mayhem. If you do not mind this kind of cinematic liberty, you might like the movie. I did. There are enough clues in the movie that indicate that multiple sequel are being planned. I am sure to watch the sequel too.
Here are the few pics from event from last 2 days in Bangalore. I had ran our battery in my cell phone, so I had to shamelessly copy few snaps related to MTR Dosa from other blogs and websites, so that you can get a glimpse of our culinary experience . However during the second I was able to take my own snaps and add to below collection.