The Filmy Room of Yesteryear

Rummaging through a stash of old photos, trying to find prints for a travel article I was writing, I was suddenly overwhelmed with nostalgia as I held in my hands pictures of my college dorm room.

I had been rather lucky in college for never having a roommate – some might disagree, but for one reason or another, not sharing a room has its advantages. As a result I pretty much lived in a luxurious – strictly by college standards – space for the four years I was enrolled.

What this also allowed me to do was “decorate” the room according to my own choice in addition to skipping the whole tie on the door routine.

My craze for movies didn’t just start suddenly. I don’t have a memorable story wherein I saw Star Wars for the first time in the theater and knew that movies were going to be a part of my life from that moment on. No. 

I cannot even pinpoint a day for when the transformation happened. It was gradual, over many years, which started with watching 80s Hindi Cinema – also considered by many as the worst decade ever in Bollywood – to appreciating Black and White Classics and Foreign Films. This “craze” though came into full form sometime during college, which is quite evident from the photographs posted here. 

The entire process of putting up everything which included rearranging the furniture, un-boxing and showcasing my small yet somewhat drool worthy film collection, finding space for the numerous posters and magazine clippings, and of course some space for my books, was a tedious task that took a considerable amount of time – usually from a week to anywhere around three weeks.

Visitors were not allowed in the room during this time, unless they planned on playing hop-scotch as the entire floor would be covered with posters and cuttings and many a times I too would avoid returning to the room, mid-way of the decorations, sacred of all the tasks that remained.

The magazine cutting were mainly from film magazines – primarily Empire and/or Total Film – and since posters were still big – are they even now? – I would collect as many as possible while on my trips to the UK. Some including those of Trainspotting, Basic Instinct, The X-Files, and The Usual Suspects would now be considered partially vintage as they are hard to find. Alas! I no longer have them.  

Once the room was ready, each year I would have a “room warming” party with a few friends which was in actuality a glorified Movie Night.

Considering we were in a small town of Germany – Schwaebisch Gumend – where English movies were hard to find, I would first walk to take a 45 minute one-way train to Stuttgart, then walk another 15 minutes to The English Shop – a tiny little shop that housed everything (Pot Noodles, Biscuits, Sweets, VHS Tapes…) English, hence the name – and rent a bunch of movies or sometimes episodes of Friends. The same trip would have to be done again within the next two days to return the films, and I can now safely say, after having successfully graduated, that that would often lead to me skipping a few classes – Sorry Dad.

I did in the end enjoy the entire process of setting up the room, however, the end of the year when everything had to be taken off, was what would eventually prove to be a pain in the you-know-where. 

Imagine how loathsome taking off BlueTac from the walls can be, and then multiply it by close to a 100, and maybe then you would get an idea of how I felt doing this when everyone else would be celebrating the end of an academic year.

It is safe to say that a lot of this was also done in a tipsy state, which eased a pain a little and would be a nice little surprise when I would wake up the next morning and realize how much, or how little, I had accomplished the previous night.  


Still, I never regretted setting up my room the way I did. It was a nice little place to mingle and just relax after a hard day of classes. Granted, most people might find it distracting to study in a room like this, but for some reason I did not – study, I did not study, of course it was distracting.

Now though, the tables have turned.

At home where there are a number of personalities living under the same roof, I can only dream about having a room like this. Moreover, I have to at times stop my kids from “damaging” the walls with stickers and art projects – pin-board to the rescue.

I have been generously “allowed” – after a lot of begging – to have a few (5-6) posters in my home theater, but eventually not being able to replace or rotate them often makes them a tad old – still have one from Star Wars Episode One … the Horror! I know – after a few years.

I guess I just need to defy the family rules and get some posters framed and hang them up like old times. Obviously, before I do that, I better make sure I go out and buy a nice comfortable couch to sleep on. 

38 replies »

  1. Your room reminds me of my college room! Do you know that there is a place in Crawford Market in Mumbai that sells old posters? Nice to see pics of an era when there wasn’t a digital camera!

    Liked by 1 person

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