Chandigarh: Batra theatre is the recent victim of mall culture. Famed for its vibrant life at the heart of world culture has now been confronting unprecedented challenges. Electronic and digital technologies have spawned an array from 3-D movies to crowd-sourced video for audience’s finite attention, these could not withstand the onslaught.
The latest victim is Asia biggest cinema Batra Theatre as the management of the theatre decided to close it down about a year ago, and was closed recently.
Gatekeeper at the closed door of Batra Theatre said that in the recent past the crowd at the theatre had started thinning with the entry of VCRs into middle-class Indian homes and Mall culture in high section of society. And that was the time when video libraries and malls sprang up all over the tricity, doing brisk business. Video piracy then was at its peak. Now even 10 people did not turn up for viewing a movie and the theatre was running financial into losses to the tune of Rs 2 lakh per day.
At all the single hall cinema theatres of Chandigarh – KC, Nirman, Jagat, Neelam, Kiran and Batra – people used to wait for months for movie tickets and even faced cane-charge at ticket windows when film was released. But in the recent past, all have been running in huge financial losses.
With a seat capacity of 1443, Batra Theatre was opened on July 11, 1980. Old timers say that GenX raised amid a digital culture proved harder to be lured to traditional single cinema hall. And multiplexes have become new mode of entertainment because of advanced facilities compared to single hall cinema theatre.
Attraction towards single hall cinema theatre has recorded decline since 2003, said an official of Batra Theatre. There are two major problems to shift to multiplexes. It needed huge amount of over Rs 150 crore to build a mall and the other was Administration’s building byelaws. He asserted that the Administration should give them the liberty to make what they wanted at the site.
KC, Jagat (Chandigarh) and Dhillon at Manimajra have been converted into multiplexes and Fun Republic and the remaining are on the verge of shutting down. From 1980s to 2000 had been days of glory for these theatres, one of the gatekeeper Babu Ram reminisces.
The staff of Piccadily and Nirman theatres admitted of bad condition of these theatres which were once pride of the city.
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