Cinemas in Delhi

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Cinema has always been one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the city of Delhi, India. Therefore, movie theaters are major entertainment venues in the city, and have been prominent in the nation's movie theatre industry. In recent years Delhi's many single-screen cinema halls have been giving way to large multiplexes.

Cinemas have long been prominent venues in the city. The Delite Cinema, for instance, was once considered the tallest building in Delhi and was patronised by political leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Indira Gandhi and such film stars as Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Nutan and Madhubala. The Delite has also staged various national and international theater productions.

Arguably, the first modern multiplex in Delhi, the Anupam cinema, was opened in 1997 by PVR (Priya Village Roadshow) in South Delhi and went on to break national records for attendance.

In 2009 the Delhi Cine Goers Association (DCGA) was founded by a group of young movie buffs residing in New Delhi. DCGA is now operating in different businesses of cinema industry.

As of 1 July there are 56 cinemas in Delhi, 17 of which are multiplexes. The total number of screens is 99.[1]

History[edit]

By the 1940s there were about seven or eight cinema houses in Old Delhi. "People called them 'bioscope'. The more proletarian members of society called them mandwa," according to a 2002 article in Seminar, a monthly journal in Delhi. "For some reason, the old picture halls were hardly ever called by their proper names — the Ritz, the Novelty or Kumar Talkies (which incidentally still stands in Chandni Chowk and has recently been renovated). Instead, they were known by the area in which they were situated. So Kumar Talkies was patharwala and Jagat was machliwala". Movies were advertised by men pushing hoardings (billboards) on wheels down the city streets. "Unknown in those days, M.F. Husain [an Indian artist] could be seen painting movie hoardings on Esplanade Road."

Single-screen cinema halls[edit]

Single-screen cinema halls used to be the popular places to watch movies in Delhi. The cinema halls with their large film hoardings were prominent landmarks in the city. However, with the multiplex boom, the number of single-screen cinema halls in Delhi has decreased. Many cinema halls like the Regal Cinema, the first cinema to be constructed in Connaught Place, have become ill-kept and run-down and now mostly screen semi-porn films to the local working class population{Fact}. Others like Westend Cinema have just been shut down or been converted into commercial complexes, like the Kumar Cinema. "Kumar Cinema Chandni Chowk" re-opened under new management as Abhishek Cineplex.

Renovation[edit]

With video piracy and DVD sales offering stiffer competition to cinema halls in recent years, some cinema hall owners have countered by offering both upgraded technology and more luxurious surroundings. There are a number of longstanding single theaters that have been renovated or have upgraded their facilities and are still successfully operating as single-screen cinema halls. For example, the old Alankar Cinema in Lajpat Nagar was completely renovated to include shops and restaurants and was reopened as 3C's in 2002.

Plaza Cinema[edit]

The Plaza Cinema opened in 1933 and was designed by architect Robert Tor Russell as part of the Connaught Place development. The facade had a classical style with columns that matched adjoining buildings.

The facade was covered over in 1967 by a plain stone slab, while the inside the auditorium has been modernized by a covering of peg board sound insulation tiles which give a bland appearance. Seating is provided in stalls and balcony levels. The cinema is equipped to screen 70mm film and recently underwent a renovation, re-opening in May 2004 by the popular multiplex chain PVR Cinemas. The close-by Rivoli Cinema was also recently renovated and re-opened by PVR Cinemas.[2]

Old Plaza Cinema
PVR Plaza Cinema

Conversion to multiplexes[edit]

There has been a recent trend of converting single-screen cinema halls into multiplexes. Some single-screen theaters have split their auditoriums into two screen rooms. For example, Eros Cinema, the first cinema built in south Delhi, and Odeon Cinema in Connaught Place have been closed and work has begun on converting each into a two-screen multiplex.[3] Chanakya Cinema and Sangam Cinema in south Delhi will also follow suit soon. Others like the Delite Cinema have retained the original cinema hall but have added an additional adjacent screen.

Delite Cinema[edit]

Founded in 1955 as a one-screen movie house, the Delite was renovated in 2006 and reopened in December with two screens. The theater's new amenities include a "handcrafted dome, fire-proof drapery, Egyptian carpets, seats decorated with brocade fabric, brass-holders for drinks, pure leather paneling on the doors, wooden carvings and LED lights" in the 148-seat "Delite Diamond" screen room, according to The Hindu newspaper. The renovation added imported chandeliers from the Czech Republic, Spanish paint, stained glass and woodwork in the lobby, and Victorian lampposts outside the hall. "[T]he washrooms are fitted with Italian marble and Spanish tiles", the newspaper reported. The movie house also features a 100-seat cafeteria for snacks, including the traditional "chuski". The theater also upgraded its technology with seamless film screens and advanced projectors.

The movie house is meant to serve all strata of society, not just wealthier moviegoers, although ticket prices were raised, the owner told The Hindu. When the theater reopened in December 2006, initial ticket prices were set at Rs. 25, 35, 50 and 80 for one of the two new screen rooms, and Rs. 110 and 130 for the more luxurious Delite Diamond.[4]

List of notable single-screen cinema halls in Delhi[edit]

Cinema Established Seating Location
Eros Cinema 1956 317 (294+23) Eros One, Eros Cinema Building, Jungpura Extn New delhi, Phone: 01124324642
Abhishek Cineplex (kumar talkies) 2009 260 Chandni Chowk
3C's 2002 Lajpat Nagar
Chanakya 1970 Chanakyapuri
Delite 1955 Asaf Ali Road
Golcha 1954 815 Daryaganj
Regal 1932 694 Indira Chowk, Connaught Place
PVR Plaza 2004 300 H- Block, Connaught Place
PVR Priya 2000 904 Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar
PVR Rivoli 2004 Baba Kharag Singh Marg, Connaught Place
Shiela 1961 980 DB Gupta Road, Paharganj
Vishal 1970 1401 Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden
Sapna Cinema East of Kailash

impirea[5]l paharganj

Multiplexes[edit]

PVR Saket

The first modern multiplex was opened in Delhi by PVR Cinemas in 1997 with technology imported from Australia. The PVR Saket went on to revolutionize the movie theater industry and broke many national records in cinema exhibition in the country. Since then there has been a large boom in multiplexes in Delhi. There are now over 20 multiplexes with more being built. Some of these are stand alone multiplexes while others are located inside malls.

Many of these multiplexes belong to chains, some of the most famous are PVR Cinemas, Wave Cinemas, Fun Cinemas, and Satyam Cineplexes. Many of the multiplexes offer online bookings, home delivery of tickets and loyalty incentives.

Delhi Cine Goers Association (DCGA)[edit]

Delhi Cine Goers Association (DCGA) was established in 2009 by a bunch of movie lovers residing in New Delhi area. Since then it has increased its stake in different levels of cinema business. It works with the spirit of Celebrating Cinema.

List of notable multiplexes in Delhi[edit]

Cinema Established Screens Seating Location
PVR Naraina 2001 4 830 Community Center, Naraina
PVR Prashant Vihar 2007 3 800 Fun City Mall, Prashant Vihar
PVR Saket 1997 4 1000 Community Centre, Saket
PVR Vikaspuri 2001 3 921 Community Centre, Vikaspuri
Satyam Patel Nagar   4 1207 Patel Nagar
Wave Cinemas Raja Garden 2007 4   TDI Paragon Mall, Shivaji Place, Rajouri Garden
Satyam cineplex Janakpuri 2008 4   District Center, Janakpuri.
Cinemax Subhash Nagar 2011 6   Pacific Mall, Subhash Nagar

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]