Far away from the stuffy lanes full of designer studios and bustling Wi-Fi-enabled hipster cafes in Shahpur Jat, stands Mumbai Matinee – The Bollywood Cafe (no prizes for guessing the theme of the joint). Old melodies resonate in the cafe on the first floor, as enlarged photos of Nirupa Roy, Kader Khan, Manorama and Honey Irani become the decor. The menu is vast, covering cuisines Delhi is obsessed with any way — Italian, Mughlai and Mexican.
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Like its predecessor in Noida, Mumbai Matinee’s Shahpur Jat branch, too, lives up to its theme but it’s really the second floor that gives the new space an edge. Owners Seep Arora and Prateek Gambhir have turned the floor into a mini theatre, where they often host independent filmmakers and their films, and sometimes screen movies from the golden era of Indian parallel cinema.
With an occupancy of 30-40 people, the room has a projector, cushioned chairs and couches, and popcorn and soda on the house. On the walls are handpainted names of Hindi movies — from Alam Ara to Ijaazat to even Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. The space opened a couple of months ago, and the duo have screened 15-20 films here so far.
Often, screenings are followed up with free-flowing conversations with the filmmakers and audience members, over tea and coffee. Although Gambhir doesn’t have a background in hospitality, he makes up for it with his love for Bollywood. There is also clarity that the venue won’t promote any current commercial cinema, and will only screen indie films in a vast range of languages, besides classics from the ’50s to the ’90s.
The venue is also available for private screenings, and on days there are no films to be screened, the balcony area outside makes for a lovely spot to see the sunset. Arora’s attention to detail — from cassettes hung on the railings to getting road sign painters to copy the font of film names on the walls, to carefully curating the music everyday — adds to the ambience. She plays on nostalgia, and turns it into a haven for those ’80s kids.
ADDRESS: 4-A Second floor, Shahpur Jat contact: 9560585252 MEAL FOR TWO: Rs 1,000 (including taxes)