Chalakudy's theatre of dreams

A cinema theatre in Chalakudy, Thrissur, has been showing the Football World Cup matches since June 14... for free!

Fans are set to watch the Brazil-Belgium quarterfinal on the big screen in the Chalakudy theatre.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Fourteenth of June marked the beginning of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the onset of the football fever in India. Fans across the country painted their houses in their favourite teams’ colours, some put up posters and painted murals of their idols, while others even flew down to Russia. A group of football-hungry enthusiasts in Chalakudy, Thrissur, have decided to bring the World Cup 'home'.

Sensing the football frenzy in the area, the Chalakudy Municipal Corporation converted an unused theater into a giant football theater, where it erected a giant screen and arranged 400 chairs for fans to watch the games in a stadium-like atmosphere. And that’s not all! Every attendee is given a hot cup of tea and vada to go along with it. And the best part? It's all free of cost.

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“We started the screening in the theater when the World Cup began. We realised that there are 87 municipalities and 6 corporations in Kerala but none of them were screening the matches. The municipality, along with some well-wishers, decided that Chalakudy Municipality will become the first one to screen all the matches for free of cost,” says Wilson Panattuparambil, Chalakudy’s Municipal Vice Chairman. 

 

“We have spent around two lakhs so far and the response has been phenomenal. Close to 1200 people watch the game here on a daily basis,” adds the 60-year-old. 

Fans in Chalakudy, Kerala, watching the World Cup matches being aired on the big screen.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Shaji T. U., a Brazil fan, has watched almost all the big matches at the theater. “All the main matches have been packed so far. You have to go at least 45 minutes before the game because it’s tough to find a seat if you go even a little late. There are people sitting on the ground and standing by the walls, it’s completely packed and the ambiance is great,” he says. 

While a new champion will be crowned at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15th, there are prizes up for grabs in Chalakudy too, says Wilson. “We are organising a lucky draw and have been giving away prizes from the quarterfinals stage. The lucky winners have received a football until now and the winner on the final will get a fridge,” he remarks. 

When asked which team he's got his money on, he says, “Most of the people here are supporting France, but I think Belgium is playing really well. They could win the title,” he says, laughing.

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