Gone are the days of Talkies and Bioscope. Amidst the bubbling Multiplexes and multi-screen movie viewing experience, we might have forgotten about the old and rustic cinema halls that used to be most visited places, back in the days. Some are crumbling, some are tarnished and a few still well-maintained and running successfully.
How about we take some time out of our modern lives and revisit some of the Oldest and most beautiful Theatres of India? You are surely going to be transported back to the era!
1.Chaplin Cinema, Kolkata:
Better known as Elphinstone Picture Palace, and later called Chaplin Cinema, this is the first ever Cinema Hall in India. Founded by Jamshedji Framji Madan in 1907, Elphinstone was one of the most sought after place. Later when it became a full-fledged movie theatre as Chaplin, the popularity rose to ten-folds. The site is now demolished and used by Kolkata Muncipal Corporation.
2. Delite Cinema, Delhi:
Originally founded in 1955, Delite Cinema was a single screen theatre and was renovated in 2006. The single screen cinema hall was converted into double screen and is an experience which will take you back to the history. There was also time when, Delite Cinema was considered to be the tallest building in Delhi.
3.Regal Cinema, Delhi:
It was the first cinema hall to be constructed in Connaught Place. It was constructed in 1932 and has a seating capacity of 694. But now the place is used for B-Grade, semi-porn film screening, and is frequented by the working class.
4. Priya Cinema, Kolkata:
It is, one of the oldest, and still popular, single screen theatre in South Kolkata. Infact, it was the first theatre in Eastern India to introduce Advanced Computerised Ticket Booking System and Online Ticket Booking. It has a large seating capacity of 851 seats and is also one of the hotspots for stage shows and musical events. It was established in the 40s.
5.Samrat Cinema , Jaipur:
A place for cinema lovers in the Pink City, which is also one that not only gives you an option to watch the popular Bollywood films, but also gives you a chance to watch some long-running films. The theatre has the embedded vibe of local Indian Culture and is an experience of one of a kind.
6.Capitol Cinema, Mumbai:
Once a hotspot for Gothic Movie play house, and now a place for B-Grade Hindi films, Capitol has seen a lot of eras of cinema. The place has been there since 1879 and the first film to be screened there was a British Film called “The Flag Lieutenant”.
7.Royal Theater, Mumbai:
Established in 1911, it was a place for stage shows and documentary screenings, until in 1930s it shared screening Bollywood films. It has the seating capacity of around 600 people and is one of the oldest talkies which still maintains its rustic charm.
8. Saffire Theatre, Chennai:
It was built in 1964 and in 1990s it became India’s first multiplex having three halls. Saffire is the largest and is used for Hollywood films; Emerald is for Hindi Films; while Diamond is for offbeat films and reruns.
9.Everest Talkies, Bangalore:
This is one of the standalone single screen theatre which plays potboilers to documentaries. The theatre was constructed by Maistry Chowriappa in 1930s and has been in operation since then. For a while, for revamping purposes the place remained closed for a year but has opened up with a bang.
10.Santhosh Theatre, Bangalore:
This old cinema hall has the capacity of 1250 seats and still sports the woodwork, lamps and fountains. The theatre is running still and reminds all of the Old Cinematic Days.
There are many more majestic theatres, some operational, some demolished, some running in losses but still running; and some just in the history books. Cinema has had a long run in our country and the theatres which stand the test of time, become milestones in the History Of Indian Cinema.
Piyush Pande Films