Before there was television and the Internet, there was the Bioscope. To bring images of one’s favourite movie stars to the neighbourhood – peppered with music from the Talkies themselves.
For the uninitiated, a Bioscope is a decorative hand-driven projector that has a low watt bulb attached behind the reel. As the handle turns, the reel moves. The person viewing the reel from a fixed lens gets to watch images moving by, often accompanied with music. You can see full fledged films, or posters of stars stuck together in one long roll to make for entertaining viewing.
The Bioscope was like a ‘Travelling Cinema Trailer’ or ‘Cinema Gallery on Wheels’ – a perfect object of affection for a cinema loving traveller! Bioscopes are almost a thing of the past. And Bioscope-wallahs far and few. But one can still find some at places like India Gate in New Delhi – and in many of the smaller towns and villages of the country. Clearly, in an age where over 90 percent of Indian homes (rich and poor included) are connected by satellite and cable television, Bioscopes still manage to entertain a few.