The Life and Times of a Porn Theatre Usher

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The Life and Times of a Porn Theatre Usher

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

t’s another sunny day in Mumbai, and I’m at the hospital with Shrivastav, who is seeking treatment for his recent tango with tuberculosis. I’m hanging with the 67-year-old not because of any academic interest in TB – I just got to know that he was an usher at a theatre that screened pornography in Mumbai.

“Aspatalon me bachi hui jaan bhi khatam ho jati hai,” he rasps. I nod in agreement, looking around what looks like the set of a Victorian-era horror/snuff film. Straight-faced Shrivastav finally smiles, “Aslam naam ka picture hai, Hindi mein uska naam pada Maut Ke Mareez; Chini logon ka picture tha.” He’s talking about a C-Grade Asian horror-cum-soft porn movie called Asylum that was screened at Imperial Cinema, where Shrivastav worked before the tuberculosis did him in.

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