Old Cinemas in Mumbai (India)
Francisco Huertas Hernández
The Regal Cinema is an Art deco Movie theatre located at Colaba Causeway, in Mumbai, India. Built by Framji Sidhwa, the first film to be aired at the Regal was the Laurel and Hardy work The Devil's Brother in 1933. As per the Limca Book of Records it is the first air conditioned theatre of India
Image: "Angry Indian Goddesses" (2015). Pan Nalin / "Hate Story 3" (2015). Vishal Pandya
India no es un país. Es un continente. Sobrehabitada por infinitas razas, entregada a infinitas lenguas, alfabetos y religiones. Los que no hemos tenido la suerte de estar en el lugar más extraordinario del planeta nos quedamos con la respuesta de mi entrañable amigo, el paleontólogo Miguel Ángel Cuesta Ruiz-Colmenares, cuando le pregunté cuál era de los muchos países que había visitado el que más le había impresionado y contestaba sin dudar que India. Supongo que la sobreabundancia de olores, colores, sonidos, climas, hombres, mujeres, animales, dioses, da a ese espacio una dimensión de exceso, y estar vivo -o muerto- pasa a cobrar una intensidad desconocida en la aséptica Europa.
Pero hoy vengo a mostrar algo de su principal ciudad: Mumbai (मुंबई), también conocida como Bombay. Capital del estado de Maharashtra. "Es la ciudad más poblada de la India y la cuarta más poblada del mundo, con una población de aproximadamente 14 475 568 habitantes. La región metropolitana (que agrupa a Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Virar, Vasai y Panvel) junto con las zonas urbanas vecinas de Navi Mumbai y Thane es la cuarta más grande del mundo con una población calculada de 21 255 000 habitantes" Estas cifras de Wikipedia impresionan, y, sus millones de habitantes, como los del resto de la República de la India, tienen en el cine su principal medio de distracción. Es curioso que el papel de las salas de cine en India hoy es semejante al de Europa en los años 40 y 50, antes de la televisión y el vídeo. En India se producen al año unas 800 películas -el doble que en Hollywood- y hay 9000 salas de cine. Mumbai es el centro más importante en la producción de películas en India y es conocido como "Bollywood". Para el gusto cinéfilo occidental son producciones mediocres donde abunda el baile, la música, el vestuario colorido y tramas folletinescas simples, pero al fin y al cabo son un producto de entretenimiento que cumple su función lúdica y social.
Es imposible saber el número total de pantallas que hay en Mumbai, pero, aunque desaparecen salas como en todas partes, tenemos cines para dar y tomar, y hoy vamos a ver algunos de los más significativos por su antigüedad, estética, singularidad.
En primer lugar transcribimos un interesante artículo sobre los cines más antiguos de Mumbai (http://www.india.com/travel/articles/5-of-the-oldest-cinema-houses-in-mumbai/):
"Mumbai has been home to over 50,000 movies running on screens of various cinema houses. In the early 1900s, most live performance theatres transformed themselves into cinema houses due to a lack of identity in the bustling world of motion pictures. In due course of time, single screen theatres got left behind in the race that featured multi screen cinema houses. These are some of the movie theatres that stood tall gloriously for decades before, multiplexes took over the town.
Capitol Cinema House
Opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Mumbai
It was built by Kunvarji Paghtivala. It is a Heritage grade II Victorian structure constructed in 1879. Originally a theatre for performing arts known as Tivoli it got its present name in 1928 when it was converted to a Movie theatre
1- Capitol Cinema House. It is by far the oldest theatre in the city. Established in 1879 at the then Victoria Terminus (now CST), Capitol was initially a performance theatre where several plays were performed during the British Rule. However, post the growth of films, the theatre was converted and movies were played in the single screen. As of this day, Capitol is not in its best shape but is yet a memoir from the past.
360 Near Police Station, Lamington Road, Girgaum, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400004. India
Situated in the busy commercial area, Lamington Road, Imperial started shop in 1905 as an orchestra theatre. It now plays only B-grade Bhojpuri movies. Tickets are priced at Rs 30-35 and the night shows generate maximum business
2- Imperial Cinema House. Located off the Lamington Road in South Bombay, this theatre was started in the year 1905. Since the past 11o years, this is one of the only single screen movie theatres in the city that has preferred screening Bhojpuri movies.
Grant Road. Mumbai
Opposite Jama Masjid, Grant Road, MS Ali Road, Chor Bazaar, Kamathipura, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400007. India
Started in 1911, the theatre originally screened documentaries. By 1914, Royal only staged plays. Says owner Suli Arya, “By 1930, most theatres in the area started showing movies. We too followed suit. The backstage gave way to the screen.” With a seating capacity of 600, it barely finds 50 viewers for a two-month old Bollywood movie
3 - Royal Talkies. The cinema house initially screened documentaries made about Old Mumbai since 1911. It was only by the 1930s that upscale movies produced with actors and scripts were played at this monumental movie-house that is situated off Grant Road.
Edward Theatre (Cinema)
514, Near Metro Adlabs, Kalba Devi Road, Tak Wadi, Lohar Chawl, Kalbadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400002. India
4 - Edward Theatre. Named after King Edward, the theatre was started in the year 1914. The most famous show to date has been “Jai Santoshi Ma”. Situated near Dhobi Talao, this cinema house is yet appreciated for its architecture.
New Roshan Talkies
Grant Road. Mumbai
Opposite Delhi Darbar, PB Marg, Grant Road Area, Khetwadi, Grant Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400007. India
5 - New Roshan Talkies. This Cinema House was started by a Parsi family in 1930, to indulge the poor into watching movies as they had an educative background in the past. Tickets still cost something between Rs. 10 to Rs. 30 here, but the quality of movies doesn’t match that of Bollywood today.
You might as well not see the need to know about cinema houses that do not suffice the need of watching an A class movie. Yet, as a traveller, knowing about these places gives one an edge over tourists and at the end of the day, getting closer to each place we visit is all that matters."
Otros cines históricos de Mumbai son los siguientes:
Regal Cinema. Mumbai. 1935
Colaba Causeway. Mumbai
The Regal Cinema was built during the cinema boom of the 1930s during which Plaza Central, New Empire, Broadway, Eros and Metro all opened in Mumbai. Opened in 1933, Regal was designed by Charles Stevens, the son of the famous 19th century architect, F. W. Stevens. Its interiors with extensive mirror-work were designed by the Czech artist Karl Schara. The main auditorium had a motif of sunrays in pale orange and jade green. Its interiors were designed to create an impression of airiness, coolness and size in harmony with the modern simplicity of the exteriors. The Regal was built completely in reinforced concrete cement (RCC), fully air conditioned, and had an underground parking lot for patrons. The elevator up from the parking area was a major innovation at the time.
The cinema was the third venue to host the Filmfare Awards night. Today, it is a multi-use building combining a cinema with shops at street level.
The Regal Cinema was the lead theatre hosting the 17th Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), held in 2015, starting from Friday, October 29, 2015. Also, The Regal Cinema was the lead theatre hosting the 18th. Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), held in 2016
Images: Thanks to John Meckley & Jordi Castellsague
Grant Road. Mumbai
Started around 1880 as Rippon and then rechristened as Alfred in 1932, the theatre currently screens only soft porn movies. The distinct European architecture is still intact. Says manager, Hoozefa Bootwala, “Our audience likes only action movies. They don’t want Race or Players. They won’t understand such cinema
Grant Road. Mumbai
Owned by Neeta Nihalani, wife of film director, Pahlaj Nihalani, the theatre now screens only Bhojpuri movies, priced at R 15/18. Says Neeta, “We came from Pakistan after partition and started a play house on August 15, 1952, where the current theatre stands
New Empire Cinema
Murzban Road, Azad Maidan Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001. India
New Empire was a cinema hall in South Mumbai located in close proximity to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It closed down on 21 March 2014 after being in existence for over a century due to persistent losses suffered by the owners.
New Empire originally opened in 1908 as a live theatre and hosted plays. It was then known as the Empire Theatre. In 1948, it was completely overhauled and reopened as New Empire with a seating capacity of nearly a thousand.
New Empire was one of the oldest single-screen cinema halls in Mumbai and the first in Asia to have a cantilevered balcony. Similar cinema halls that were built in the Art Deco style and opened subsequently in the south Mumbai area were Regal (opened in 1933), Metro (opened in 1938) and Liberty (opened in 1949). The first film it screened was in 1930 – the talkie Vagabond King.
Empire Theatre was built as an elaborate Victorian structure. It was made in the Baroque style by architect Arthur Payne with the interiors done by O’Connor and Gerard. In 1948, it underwent a complete overhaul and was rebuilt in the then-prevalent Art Deco style of architecture
Maratha Mandir Theater
Maratha Mandir Marg. Mumbai
22, Maratha Mandir Marg, Agripada, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400008. India
Maratha Mandir is a Cinema Hall located in Maratha Mandir Marg, Mumbai, India. It opened on 16 October 1958 and has 1000 seats. The theatre created a record after screening the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge for 1009 weeks since its release in 1995, until 19 February 2015. It takes a 2-minute walk from the Mumbai Central railway station to reach the cinema hall, besides the Maratha Mandir's Babasaheb Gawde Institute of Technology. This cinema hall has its reputation from a very long time and it is one of the most famous landmarks in Mumbai. This is the most known valued theatre for the Mumbai's Bollywood Box Office.
The first film to premiere at the iconic theatre was Sunil Dutt and Vyjayanthimala’s Sadhna. In 1960, Mughal-E-Azam was premiered here and ran for six years. Says managing director, Manoj Desai, “At the premiere, Dilip Kumar came on a horse.
There were elephants all over the place.” Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge has been running here for the last 17 years and still gets 100 percent occupancy on weekends and public holidays
Eros Building, 42 Karve Road, Churchgate, Mumbai - 400 020
Founded by Mr. Shiavax S. Cambata in 1938, Eros cinema hall is located at Church Gate. Eros has always been improving its facilities according to the changing time and the corresponding innovations in the film industry, and thus always cared to provide the best in the entertainment, to Mumbai's movie buffs. Eros is the first Premier Theatre to install a wide-angle screen and the latest in sound and film projection system. Above all, it provides you with a facility to rent a movie of your choice as well!
Images: Thanks to Jordi Castellsague
Manaji Rajuji Rd, Dalal Estate, Kamathipura, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400008. India
Opened Alexandra Cinema in 1921
Image: Thanks to Jordi Castellsague
38, N M Joshi Marg, BDD Chawl, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013. India
The dismal condition of single screen theatres in the city isn’t hidden under the carpet. Over the years, these hotspots of entertainment have lost the race to the great multiplex revolution. While some hung on, others shut shop, handicapped by losses. Deepak Cinema, started by Kutchi landowner Tokershi Jivraj Ganjhi in 1926, is one of the few that have survived and now, to breath a new lease of life in the theatre, the third generation of owners have revamped the space
198, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Road, Opposite Dadar Gurudwara, Dadar East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400014. India
De momento lo dejamos. Hay muchos más cines en Mumbai. Otro día seguiremos.
Thanks for reading. Salutes to India