Theatres On and Around Maulana Shaukat Ali Road in Mumbai
Abstract: The 6 cinema halls on and around Maulana Shuakat Ali Road, Grant Road, Super, Nishaat, Royal, Alfred, Roshan and Gulshan, have been a defining part of the neighbourhood for more than 100 years. While the neighbourhood remains in/famous for its whore house and gangwars, these halls remain a counter balancing factor, allowing for a more relaxed space. The project has worked on the history and economics of the halls, both on the inside and outside. Also, she has worked on the emergent relationships between the halls, hawkers, residents and around.
Bio: Mamta has done Masters in Histroy and EnglishLiterature from Mumbai University,and M.Phil in English Literature from S.N.D.T. University. Worked as a lecturer inHistroy, English and Media Studies at various colleges in Mumbai, in both capacties as Full-time and Visiting Faculty. Also, worked on independent projects as traslating a book from Eglish to Hindi for the SwamiNarayan Temple Trust, Manuscript cataloguing for Culture ministry, Governemt of India, et al.
email: bawree @ yahoo.com
This is Mamta; I am based in Mumbai, and am Sarai fellow for the first time, but have been following the enlightening reader-list for quite some time now. Academically, I have done an M.Phil in English Literature and M.A. in History,, want to pursue PhD and add a Dr. to my name (ho, ho, I am only 29). On a serious note, I come from an average Marwari Maheshwari family and my roots are in Rajasthan, (very close to Makrana, the ‘marble’ place), I do go there to unwind. I have worked as a lecturer in various colleges in Mumbai, but don’t want to work according to the system, so chose not to do my NET and SET
(Entrance exams mandatory for permanent job as lecturer), so am without a steady source of income. But have been lucky otherwise,, tried my hands at teaching (both in traditional and professional courses), Manuscripts cataloguing for Ministry of Culture (BJP government then), translated a book for Swaminarayan, Akshardham (remember the terrorist attack), translated interviews and some basic aspects of editing for a documentary film (in the process).
This does not look ‘focused’ in the corporate sense, but I have enjoyed myself this way. I believe in living life to the fullest, experiencing all emotions to their due. That apart, the only wealth that I wish to focus on is gaining knowledge.
Well, that’s about me for the moment…About the project, I will be working on the movie theatres at Grant Road, a (in) famous part of Mumbai. A group of eight cinema theatres (ALFRED, NEW ROYAL, NEW ROSHAN, SUPER, NEKZAAD, NISHAAT, GULSHAN, SHALIMAR) in the radius of about a kilometer, have been entertaining the local masses for more than 50 years.
I have been walking through these theatres for the past two years, as a part of my teaching activity in a college nearby. Curious that I was, I finally walked into one of these theatres, with the help of a local student, and was amazed to see the view inside- a huge auditorium (both Dress Circle and Balcony), big canvas screen with quality picture, and amazing sound quality. These theatres show re runs of certain old Bollywood films (of the 80s and early 90s), with violence and desire/passion as the chief criteria for these films, presumably. Bhojpuri films are a major hit here. In fact, a couple of Bhojpuri films do have ‘star-appearances’ at these theatres.
But what really interested me were the huge airy fans, (do we really need air-conditioners??), and of course, the seats. They were cushion less chairs, made of iron, which had begun to rust, and you are sure to tear off some part of your clothes if you are careless. But one credible thing about them,, you will never suffer from backache, your posture always remain right, as opposed to the red and blue cushioned chairs with head rests and all that, of the multiplexes, they are good only for dozing away, but the tough air-conditioner would not allow you to even do that.
Anyways, I hope to move beyond seats and fans very soon…
Nevertheless, it would be an interesting exercise to know how films are constantly rearticulated through the specific historical situations of public exhibition and reciprocally constructed through a complex social interchange with audiences vis-à-vis these spaces, out of which arise two issues:
A) Understanding how films address their spectators, and
B) Understand how audiences get constituted through the social architecture and phenomenology of film going ( I am hinting at the social atmosphere within cinema theatres, made up of noise, talking, intimacies, disruptions and pranks, which significantly helps shape a shared sense of films)..
Besides, I would also like to take ‘new people’ to a screening at these theatres and record their reactions and feedback about their experience. Also I do wish to understand the conditions that determine the re-release of certain films, and what are the material conditions involved in making such a decision? Finally, the research aims to gain a significant entry point for researching the question of experience, posing as it does the linkages between the cinema, the rhythms of everyday life and the experience of space, that context, which becomes a venue for cultural practice and meaning making.
I shall keep posting my findings and summarize finally in a written paper in the workshop. Alongside, a couple of pictures which I shall post over a period of time and in the workshop.
Until next posting,,,
I visited the cinema halls on Bakr-Eid. The two roads outside the seven cinema halls were crowded, not very heavily though. As they waited outside the halls, a large crowd gathered around two photo studios, ‘Tamanna’ and ‘Pakeeza’. What’s interesting about these studios is that have photo-placards of a majority of Bollywood stars. These photo- placards are the size of an average person. One needs to put ones arms around these placards and click!!!, you have just been clicked with Priyanka Chopra or John Abraham for a mere 20 rupees. I too joined the spree and got myself clicked with Salman Bhai (as they call him).
While I enjoyed the entire experience and was laughing throughout, my friend kept deterring me from the act, as it wasn’t a very sophisticated place, and meant for ‘them’. These photo shops have no demarcated and separate space between the studio and reception. A dark purdah is the only means to understand the demarcation, which, by the way, is visible only when one gets in to click a snap of oneself. The wall has two to three kinds of backgrounds, flowers, scenery, a house, etc. and you can choose one. One of the studios did have a digital camera. The other one had a ‘saada’ camera. Should I think or read anything into it or simply get myself clicked myself with John Abraham next time???? what say
This happened two months ago,,, I was walking towards Sagar Restaurant from Mumbai Central Railway station on a teaching assignment again. The area is predominantly an upper middle-class and rich area, with Muslim majority, and you can see burqas and fez caps all around (pardon me for this). I pass through a telecommunication shop, which has Reliance posters (the one which has a woman with the phone and the caption reads as ‘Celebrate diwali till holi’), on the glass pane at the entrance. However, what was missing was the woman’s face, which was cut off in a very perfect manner. At first thoughts, it looks like any poster tearing event, but if looked at, closer, a very different picture emerges. When asked about the poster, the shopkeeper cited religion as the reason for the act of removing the woman’s face, and he obviously had to keep the poster as a command from the company. I was definitely very disturbed at the incident. The horrors of fundamentalism were just there. I do have clicked pictures of the same. Hoping for some responses here on,,,,
This happened last week. I met Mr. Salim, the manager of Shalimar cinema, and was simply chatting with him. (He was really cold last time, but opened up this time). So apart from other things, the conversation boiled down to “why was I not getting married?”), very obviously. (of course, I could have stopped and run away, but wanted to see the fun). So he gave numerous ‘logical reasonings’ —- So what if they want dowry, So what if you earn more and are more educated than him, you must get married.[A woman is meant to serve only, according to the Quran—was his explanation].
Of course, he would not be interested in listening to my side of the story.
Going, going, going, the monologue boiled down to Islam as a religion. His many reasoning— simplest religion, ‘no one goes away once converted to Islam’, ‘Hindus worship the sun, but it does set down; some one does it and that’s Allah’, ‘of 4 people in the world, 2 are Muslims, because the procedures are simple’, ‘The French are scared that they will rename their nation as Islamic Republic of France’. (I am nodding my head in knowing silence). “You must read the Quran, it is available in translation, Be open to the idea (I was waiting for this to happen, but not so soon), Get married, there’s no happiness and belongingness like one’s own home and children.”
Anyways, he asked me about my father’s occupation. “He is an accountant in a Marwari Pedi–the cloth market at Kalbadevi”, I replied. He assumingly said that he would not be earning more than 6-7000. (Oh my gawd!!!!, how could he say such a thing, we are definitely better off than what he thinks us to be). Well, all this time, I was thinking of the duality of two different systems and their values, one that ‘English education’ taught us- individualism, secularism, liberalism etc etc; as against his values- community, womanhood, kids, religion etc. But this comment about our financial statues was a real turner.
I now wanted to find a chance to look down upon him, and I was lucky that day. He was about to leave for home, and I saw his very ‘purana’ scooter with the side guard (which was old and rotten iron patra, and full of holes). I was glad I could look down upon him, forgetting about the conversation and the larger issue (religion/fundamentalism). I guess that’s what happened to our freedom fighters. Guess that’s how we got our freedom?
Well, apologies for the delay in second posting, traveled to a couple of places in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh,,, will write about that later. Anyways, I thought it would be better to take the interviews of the Managers of the respective theatres, to begin with. So I visited Mr. Suresh Gaglani, aged 65 years, manager at Super cinema. I will remember him as the most co-operative person throughout.
Nevertheless, when I reached Super, the film shown was ‘dehati babu’, which was running houseful since Friday. There were two long queues of men who were eager to see the film. When asked the reason for the line, I came to know that the tickets had no seat numbers on them. This was really surprising to me, because we are not used to such a thing. Anyways, the crowd was getting desperate and began to whistle and shout, very eager to get in to the best available seats. They ran the moment the authorities let them in. it was as if they were all trained like pets to run to their destined location, definitely not without using all abusive language. The crowd got uncontrollable that the security guard (yes, they do have one) had to use his lathi to control them.
Inside the auditorium, was the song ‘Dus’ and people had settled happily, with mutual consent, for the film. Mr. Suresh calls this theatre as “India-Pakistan Border”, interestingly because on one side, i.e. from Grant road Railway Station to Super cinema, Hindus, mainly Gujratis, dominate. And from here onwards to JJ flyover, is the Muslim dominated area. All theatres thereon are owned by Muslims.
The theatre does good business during all festivals, especially 10 days of Ganpati festival and the grand Ramzan Eid. Apparently the Ramzan month is dreaded by the entire film industry, because apparently, it is only the Muslim masses (all classes here) who watch films the most, as compared to the other communities. In other words, cinema works because of Muslim audience only (not just these places, but elsewhere too). So Eid and the consecutive weeks are the best times. At these times, the exhibitor becomes the king, in the sense he decides the film and its rates. Other times, it is the distributor who calls the shots.
What makes a hit film? He begins by quoting the story line, which comprises of comedy, acting, emotions, action, romance, good music (remember SAAJAN), all these elements are a must in equal quantities. However, when probed deeper, as to who decides whether a film is hit or not,, he has a different thing to say. He said that it is the distributor and the producer who will decide if the film is a hit (he cited the example of old films, “GOPI” and “MERA NAAM
JOKER”, where the latter flopped because of FEEDING). The audience takes what is served to them after reviews and ticket-black. He talks of categories like “Fake” (that audience which does not have to pay for the tickets) and “Real” (that 10% of audience which genuinely buys tickets-both black and otherwise) public. These tactics can make and mar a film considerably.
Then, I met Mr. Soli Arya, 67 years, owner and partner of New Royal, who informed me about these:
The area is known as “Play House”, the name coming from a small building near Alfred cinema, where indoor games like chess, billiards, cards etc were played, it was a club like place, very elitist, and associated with British.
He narrated another incident when he met the police commissioner long time ago who said, “All of you are people of the dark. The darkness in your halls retains the criminals of the city, allowing the crime rate to reduce. Our department can relax for that much of time.” Soli said, “Crime rate increased with decline and closure of cinemas. Theatres are the only places which engage not only good people, but bad people as well.”
The manager at Shalimar cinema, Mr. Salim, was cold to me. However, certain statements made so much of sense.
Other things apart, when asked about the man-woman ratio in terms of audience, he said that women do come here, alone as well. However, in any case, 99% of cinema halls have men as the majority of audience.
According to him, none of the cinema halls will close down, Taj cinema nearby, is broken to make a multiplex, but the owners will nave to include cinema halls sooner or later. These halls will be profitable, because people will watch cinema as long as time itself.
When probed with so many questions, he commented, “TUM KYA NASHTE MEIN KAJU, BADAM, PISHTA KHATI HO, KITNA DIMAG CHALTAHAI?”(Do you have cashews and almonds for your breakfast? Your brain is so sharp!!! I will take it as a compliment.
“How much are you going to get for this?” he asked?
“SAARI MEHNAT TO HUM KAR RAHE HAI, AUR HUMHE KYA MILEGA?” (We are giving all the information, and what will we get?)
Me saw a Bhojpuri film “Tohar Kiriya” (“Tumhari Kasam”/“I swear on you”) for the first time ever. The film reminded of “Nadiya Ke Paar” the Rajshri film. (Of course, I assumed it would a violent film, but to my surprise, it was a love story in the backdrop of family, the posters were not very clear about thesubject, or may be I was expecting something elsse!!!!).
Everything was typically Bollywoodish, but the treatment of the male character, played by Ravi Kishen, was attention grabbing. His emotions were more unambiguous than ever. His wife does not allow him to touch her etc.etc. and the mounting frustration gets very apparent (he loses his anger every time he sees his wife, picks up a fight with her, and yet take good care of her). The whole attitude towards sex as the only meaning of marriage is soooo different from the mainstream Bollywood stuff, where only flowers signify a kiss and etc, etc.
Anyways, moving further,,, I was at Royal Cinema and chatting with one of the employees. I understand from him that a certain film called “Balwaan” (Sunil Sheety, Divya Bharati, and Danny Denzompa) did not work well and had to be removed in 4 days flat. Instead “Jigar” (Ajay Devgan, Karishma Kapoor) was put on and is attracting houseful. The question: Both the films are equally violent, full of explicit dialogues and flesh and good music (both fulfill the entire criterion for a successful film there), yet one works and the other doesn’t.
Interestingly, Nishaat, the theatre opposite was showing “Daata” (Mithun) and the numbers dwindled there the moment “Jigar” ran in Royal.
I asked the people around for answers:
* “Jigar” has better music than the other
* ‘Time factor’ is an important aspect in the working of the film. “Balwaan” must have not worked because it must have been shown in some other theatre 2-3 months ago.
* Of Course, the star factor…People prefer Ajay Devgan any time here.
Just to complicate things here, a musical film like “Sanam Bewafa”(Salman Khan, Pran, Danny) attracts more audience than “Apaharan”(Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar).
The latter is a definite flop along with “Company” and “Satya” in this area. I’m trying to understand how does a film work with audience????????
I am searching and open to more ideas and interpretations……
Shlok ki Maa
yesterday was an interesting one. Eight of my students accompanied me to the theatres to watch a film with me.The group comprised of 3 girls and 5 boys,all of them 19 or 20,upper middle class, a multiplex generation, born and bought up in the distant suburbs of Mumbai and never been to these places.
I asked them to see the posters, films and the theatre, and then decide the film to be viewed. Super had a Bhojpuri film (they said we wont understand the film), Shalimar showed “Garam”(it looked obscene, so no-no). Nishat showed “Fight Club”(we can watch it in a multiplex, so no again). Alfred had”Judge Mujrim”(they were oblivious to the existence of th film, so again no). Gulshan had “Badla”, but we finally decided to watch “Veergati”(Salman Khan) in New Roshan.
I finally bought 7 tickets for a mere 105 Rs.(Thank god, i only had 100 Rs with me). Anyways, by this time, two of them, bhuvan and tanvi, got very uncomfortable with the place, and decided to leave (they went to Bandra, where they felt better).
Anyways, I showed them the place, the dargah, the stage, and the projector and they were amused. All of them kept on sipping loads of cola and discused if these products were genuine or fake. the discussion lasted for a very long time, but they were still consuming all of it.
we sat in the balcony and began with the film. But they could not even watch the film till the interval, and we left 30 minutes before interval, and sat in the promenade-balcony, smoking gloriously and chatting.SO I am writing about their responses, including mine, in brief:
1) Amit: He watched the film with real ease and watched other finer aspects of the film. He said, “I have watched this film on cable at home”,”the class difference is so starkly visible”. He enjoyed every bit of it. when Salman Khan got on screen for the first time, the audience clapped, and he said, “it is these claps that decide and make the hero.”
2) Khushita: she came with a consciuously open mind, expecting the worst or unexpected, and felt better about the whole experience. she said, “the audience is very well behaved”, “I cannot watch these kinds of films”( she[and othe other girl] was refering to ‘Salaam Namaste’ as her kind of film). she remembered her childhood, when she visited her mother’s maiden house in chawls, when she saw the neighbourhood.
3) Mohnish: he was a little bored, but fine with the whole experinece. He related it to his parents and said,” My dad watches and likes these kinds of films. but my Mom, who has gradually refined her tastes, would never watch these kinds of films. ( we all agreed to the fact that our fathers, all of them enjoy these films).
4) Janhavi: She counted the number of ceiling fans (5 on her side), exhaust fans (5 in the entire hall), the dust bins. she did not enjoy the film much, but did like the place.
5) Varun: both Varun and Janhavi were pretty bored, and requested me if we could leave.Varun did not speak much, but was keeping a close track on the style and fashion quotient in the film.
6) Ashutosh: he found the hall crampy and suffocating. the seat was comfortable, but he did not find much leg-space and got restless. he commented on the song and dance sequence in the film and said, “What moves, man!”.
7) Myself: i like salman Kahn anyways and i like this film of his, so i was enjoying the film as well. but what struck my attention was the fact that the audience (the hall got housefull in 45 minutes after the film started) watched the film with great attention and alertness, not missing any moment.the film looked like an extension of the place and neighbourhood, i.e. Kamathipura. the mention of the name of the neighbourhood in the film, evokes response in the audience in forms of smiles and claps. for me, the mythical cinematic space kept flowing into the real, physical space outside the cinema hall (of course, i felt like this, only because i saw this film).
the group generally agreed to the fact that it is not very hard to relate to these kind of films which feature basic desires. they were impressed with the well behaved audience, although not very comfortable. they know such another world does exist, but seeing it right in front of your eyes was a bit disturbing.they did want to get out of the place as soon as possible, of course, not without complementing me for the kind of work that i was doing here all alone. the girls found it credible. (while i write this statement, i understand that the readers can misinterpret it, but there is a context to it, which i shall put in following postings).
by the way, this is only a certain part of the conversation which i thought was striking. i have asked them to write their detatiled responses as a part of the project exercise, and submit them with the final submissions.
Was talking with Mr Soli Arya, the owner of Royal theatre. Of other things, he talked of a certain meeting with an important police official. The official said, “the film industry works in the darkness of the hall and in the process, is sparing the society from other kinds of darkness-theft, robbery etc. Your cinema hall engages not only ‘good’ people in the society, but ‘bad’ people as well. Thanks to you, the crime rate has gone down”.
As opposed to this, I met a certain Mr Mehmood, the local godfather-prototype-Dawood-look-alike. He said, “You are researching on the cinema halls, why don’t you write about the pickpockets around these cinema halls? Local gangs thrive around these theatres and rob poor people of their money (an incident where a poor man was robbed of the money meant for medicines, but what is gone is gone). The police apparently are aware of all the gangs in the area, and the evident process of sharing the loot happens. Looks like another film on roll. The At-all-times-closed- police- chowki is symbolic of the hopeless situation in the area. He said, “This is the eight wonder of the world. It is this hyacinth which looks very organized, but is dirty and stagnant. This is one place where you can get anything and everything that you want at any point of time, food, sex, dope, lottery and other types of gamble, ask anything and you can have it. HAR CHEEZ KA BHOJAN AAP 100 RUPEES MEIN KAR SAKTE HAIN!!!!! But the common man is over. Once on this road, the pick-pockets won’t leave you, if you are spared, the prostitutes wont, go ahead, there are eunuchs waiting for you!!!
Ho ho ho, hope my point is clear.
On either sides of Royal are two photo studios, Tamanna and Pakeeza. I met Bobby, 24 year old, stays at Dockyard Yard and hails from Gujarat. He manages the shop and its customers. He has a good height and a good physique and he is proud of it. His cousin has joined him and is working with him for the past 2 years. By the way, Bobby’s real name is Amit, but this is his chosen name. He does not know the past of the shop, but definitely wants to be famous and make it big. He aspired to be a model and tried hard at it; but didn’t have the money (to bribe the concerned people) and language (he has studied till 10th STD and does not know English).
He talked with me seriously, but only after a few flirtatious moments. So he took this job and has become famous because of this work in the photo studio and his body. Yes, his body. He can easily fix someone else’s face on his body and make a picture out of it. I found them to be pretty decent ones. But how and why should he do that? Well, the concerned people know about how these photographs are done and they like it too, to show them off in their native places. For him, he is already famous locally, from Grant Road to Bombay Central to CST, as Bobby the photographer-model. Whatever happened to the whole debate on morphing in the world of internet and otherwise? The reason is pretty simple: everyone has an alter ego, and morphing allows a recluse for the alter ego from the real self towards a parallel process which superimposes reality; and people pay him for it.
Even though he is famous because of this profession, the money goes to his boss. That’s what he had aimed at, originally, right!!!!!
What about the posters of the Bollywood stars? They buy the cut outs from Grant Road and then paste them according to their specifications, on card board. Each one costs about 250 Rs. They make new poster every Eid, not before that. Why not before that? In Diwali,you burst crackers, in Holi, you play with colors, where is the time for photographs?
The trend began with Sanjay Dutt and now Salman is officially on the top. So the hierarchy goes like this: Salman Khan, Bobby, and full stop. What about Kareena, Rani and others. They are way beyond the ladder.
These posters definitely are a major source of income, now that the passport office opposite has closed down.
Pretty interesting, huh!!!!
As an effort to understand the phenomenon of hit and flop films, I thought it wiser to meet the distributors who showcase their films here. So I met Mr Kishor, an intelligent-Mallu-not-part of this gimmick, who supplies Bhojpuri films to Super an Shalimar. He also distributes Malayalam films (his latest film was ‘Tanmatra’- Mohanlal). He urged me to watch that film, something on a different plane altogether. He shared the same opinion about the audience and the place and theatre like any other interviewee would have talked. However, he talked of new words like ‘poor maintenance of the theatres’ and ‘limited thinking of the audience’. So where does the war between the exhibitor and distributor go? He says the exhibitor decided what kind of film should be shown (more explanation later, it became clear, where I met Sheru).
So, Mithun is the favorite hero. He is the Amitabh of the poor. The main factor in a hit film is the hero. Audience here likes physical fights, involving the body, but not interested in guns or other technological-Matrix forms of fights. There is a strong craze for music here. There are 8-10 songs in any Bhojpuri film (he personally does not like it).
Rural setting is very important for a Bhojpuri film to work. Any film shot outside the village is a flop. But when it comes to Hindi films, Indian culture should be the highlight. A film appeals then.
The conversation with Kishor found full manifestation in my brief talk with Sheru. He has been into this for the past 12 years; he has inherited this from his dad. He is the exhibitor for Royal and Nishat theatres. The owners (he calls them ‘landlords’) rent the theatre to him, and he displays the films that he buys from the distributors from NAAZ building, the bastion of Indian film distribution. So, technically, Sheru is the ‘exhibitor’ and he rents the films from distributors like Kishor to show it at these theatres. The first comment that he made was that it was because of Bhojpuri films that they have got saved, otherwise no means of earnings, because how many times can you show a particular film (a film, on an average, gets screened in 6 months in any of the theatres on Play
House). He calls a film a sugarcane, and said, “Kitna ras nikalenge?” Another word that I came across was “KHURAK”, which means food, in the above context.
Apart from the routine stuff, he said that the last show is the best, usually house full, because the audience has finished their daily routine. He talked about Manoj Tiwari, who was in Mumbai to perform for an awards show. He asked for the Air Conditioner to be shut down, because he could not bear that. Such is the star cast and the audience. Comedy films like “Judwaa”, “Saajan Chale Sasural”, sad films like “Tere Naam”, Kyon Ki” are also hits. Romances like “Saajan”, “MPK”, “HAHK”, etc are hits. “Kranti” and “Coolie” were major hits in their time and ran fro more than 25 weeks in the second run. Jeetendra doesn’t work here because he has worked in social and family films for a large part of his career. Sunil Shetty has flopped in this circle after DHADKAN, because he has stopped working in action
films after that, so he is no longer is a part of popular consciousness. If you are not positively visible on the ‘a grade’ film circuit, you lose touch here as well.
An experience about K3G. One of the men got upset with the film and left mid way, and said, “SRK got thrown out of the family by his dad, and he could settle so very easily in London. How did he get the money? My father also threw me out of home. It is so very difficult to come to Mumbai and survive. We have to think so many times to go to UP, and he can settle so very easily in London, what crap!!!” What else hampers their business? Cable for sure has
affected them. The location is also a hindrance. The proximity of 5-8 cinema halls in an area divides the audience, and therefore harmful for the exhibitor. But it proves to be a boon for the distributor.He then has a complaint to voice, which he hopes that
I would forward to the right authorities. None of the big stars want to do action films and/or meant for single screens. Heroes are interested in overseas, family oriented and multiplex oriented films. Our voices, the single screen people, need to be heard.