Stalls and Balcony seats

Just 6 years back, I had been a regular at single screen theatres given that there was one 500 metres from my house in Chembur. But then it was sold off and the new buyers did what is the standard norm – tear it down and build a mall with a multiplex. The construction is still on at this place and I have no idea when it is likely to become operational. Of course, the implications are clear – from paying Rs 30 for a ticket to paying Rs 250 per ticket (irrespective of the quality of the film).

This piece on the old single screen cinema houses in south-central Mumbai evokes many memories and nostalgia.

For Rafique Baghdadi, a film and music buff and social historian, the theatres of this area still stand as photographic landmarks in his memory: “There were around 19 theatres within that 1-mile radius. You start in Girgaon with National (now Moti Talkies), also once Dargah Talkies, go up the road to Kamal (now the recently defunct Alankar); on the left is Silver, then comes Gulshan, New Roshan and you end with Alfred (once Ripon). Opposite Alfred was Victoria, which was renamed Taj Talkies before being razed. Further down, near the Parsi Fire Temple, was Daulat (which does not exist any more). Daulat was originally the Baliwala Grant Theatre, owned by the great comedian Khursetji Mehrwanji Baliwala. Further down what is now Maulana Shaukat Ali Road was Royal, and opposite it is Nishaat. Down the road, towards Grant Road Station end, begins Shalimar, opposite which are Super and Novelty. Take the left and you will come to Imperial, Naaz, Swastik, Majestic (where Alam Ara was screened and which does not exist any more), Lamington (now Apsara), Minerva (now a hole in the ground) and Dreamland (once Krishna),” says Baghdadi.

Okay, need to find a holiday day off and go photo-walking in this area.

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