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This nippy weather has driven the impetus to put on pants and leave the house to an all time low. The hashtag should really be #NetflixAndComforter. However, if you can bear to pause the stream and dress yourself for polite company, a brand new film club promises to reward you with cold beer, hot chips, and warm conversation.

Founded by local filmmaker Ashok Vish, Luru Brew&View is for film buffs with feelings who want to watch movies in the company of others, and are excited by the thought of decidedly non-pedantic discussions about their themes, characters, context, and more. 

Inspired by the casual setting of the Vic Theatre’s Brew&View in Chicago, Ashok says he wanted to create an approachable space for film screenings and discussions for multiplex-averse movie buffs who have high standards, but not necessarily a degree in film studies.

The original Brew&View was more lively, Ashok says -- he recalls patrons dancing to popular musical numbers during the show -- but this writer was charmed by the distinctly homey atmosphere of the first-ever film screening of the local edition, a showing of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose Of Cairo. An abundance of snacks and beer discreetly topped up throughout the showing is only the sideshow. Post-movie, Ashok moderates a lively discussion which is pleasingly meandering, full of politics and personal recommendations. (The film is universally appreciated, Allen’s strange and dangerous sexual proclivities are condemned with equally universal fervour. The outcome: more women filmmakers in the screening pipeline, hopefully.)

Luru Brew&View offers a more frequent and accessible alternative to film festivals and high-brow scholarly screenings, which can be difficult to get into in more ways than one. For Ashok, this is a club where you come to discuss pet theories and grab a beer with fellow viewers. He recalls his own antidote to a sad day - “I’d just head to the movies, even if I were alone. Catching a matinee with other people in the theatre would cheer me up - it didn’t really matter what the movie was. I thought, why not have something similar here?”

Those not keen on human interaction, don’t cut class: this study group is happy to let you sit back and listen. The experience is also likely to change from location to location, as the film club moves with each screening (ours was held at #1 Shanthi Road Gallery).

Purists might scoff at all this. The films are projected onto a convenient wall off a laptop, the audience is seated in handily available Neelkamal chairs or benches reminiscent of the ones you shared with 5th standard classmates. You will not be shamed if you pull out your phone for a quick text. Ashok had initially intended for this film club to more closely mimic the shows at the Vic Theatre, encouraging conversation during the film, but this viewing, we can confirm, was only interrupted by the rustling of chips packets.

Plans are already afoot for future events. Ashok says he hopes to partner with different types of venues and cultural spaces in the city. We start to dream of shows that encourage audience participation in the form of shadow casts, counterpoint dialogue, or midnight movie screenings a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With two screenings already scheduled this month, Ashok is hopeful that the community can grow large enough to warrant a dedicated space some day.

Those new to the city may find it a nice way to meet people away from the bar scene and nerds will find community. Entry is currently limited to 30 people, so those interested are advised to RSVP with alacrity once they sign up.

The magic of sitting in a darkened room, letting the swell of the opening score spill over you, your being bathed in the light emerging from the moving pictures before them -- these are singular pleasures, and even, we will vouch, nicer than pyjama night with Netflix. Luru Brew&View offers all this and the bonus possibility of emerging from the experience with a new, film-loving movie buddy.

Getting there: Follow Luru Brew&View events here or email to sign up for their mailing list. Each show begins with a small donation of Rs. 100 to cover the cost of the tipple and accompanying touchings.

This story was contributed by Sushmita Sundaram. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.


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