No babies in movie halls: Which side of the fence are you on?

There are two schools of thought in Dubai over whether toddlers and babies should be allowed inside the movie halls or not.

While some insist there is no harm, others claim it is a pointless exercise that could cause them more harm than good.

“Taking a baby to a movie theatre should be a personal choice. I see no harm in it,” says Rita Sen, mother of a one-year-old. “We often take our baby to the theatre. It is often for Hindi movies, and mostly during the late evenings as it is easy to put her to sleep then.”

Some parents take their babies along because they don’t have access to babysitters. “I don’t want to miss out on the latest movies because I am a new mommy,” argues Christina. “Our parents used to take us to the movies when we were babies too. So, what’s the harm now?”

Countering this argument, a few insist that it doesn’t take much to ask a close friend or family member to step in and take care of the toddler or baby while they are away at the cinemas.

The movie hall is clearly not a place for kids, they assert.

In fact, many are annoyed at those parents who refuse to step out even if their baby is bawling. “They won’t even go out if their baby cries, instead they expect us to tolerate the loud screech,” elaborates Natasha.

“And, these are the same people who get irritated when someone chats on their mobile phone inside a movie hall.”

Often some have been forced to walk out of the hall because of the distraction. “One time we were so focused on the crying baby seated next to ours, than on the movie that we thought it made more sense to walk out because we had missed out on a large chunk of the movie anyway,” recalls Sunita Menon.

Ritika, in fact, had a peculiar experience when seated in front of four mothers, and their babies, for an afternoon show. “I was shocked when I saw a baby crawl into the seat next to mine. And, when I looked back, the ladies were so engrossed in the film that they didn’t realise that one of their babies was missing.”

Some parents can’t comprehend the purpose of taking babies for late-night shows. “I’d rather have my son tucked away in bed, rather than putting him through a movie,” reasons a father.

There is even a small minority who believe that movie halls are a haven for germs. “I wouldn’t dare to take my baby there. Don’t know what she will pick up from there.”

Many claim it’s better to rent out DVDs and watch them at home. “Most movies are out on DVD in weeks after their official release, so why not wait and watch them at home, instead of dragging your children to the hall?” reasons mother of two, Carol.

“I feel sorry for the poor babies too. I find the cinema too loud and too cold sometimes. It's awful really,” wrote a Western expat on an online forum.

“I don’t think a cinema is an ideal place for an infant any time day or night. It’s a place for adults to chill and relax. It is not fair if you have a baby screaming the place down,” wrote another.

(Image courtesy Shutterstock)

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