Safire Theatre complex

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Coordinates: 13°03′14″N 80°15′09″E / 13.0540°N 80.2526°E / 13.0540; 80.2526

The Safire Theatre complex was India's first multi-theatre complex located in the southern city of Chennai that functioned from 1964 to the mid-1990s. The theatre complex located on Mount Road (now Anna Salai) consisted of three screening halls, namely, Safire, Blue Diamond, and Emerald. While the largest named Safire screened Hollywood movies, the others, Emerald and Diamond screened Indian films.

Safire is believed to have been the first 70mm theatre in India.[1]

History[edit]

Started by the Veecumsee Family, Safire opened its door to the public in 1964. The first movie to play in Safire was Cleopatra. Safire was perhaps the first 70 mm theatre in India. It was spacious, if a bit spartan in furniture, and for the first few years screened only English language films. My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Lawrence of Arabia, Funny Girl, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World were some of the early movies.

Later Safire supposedly ran into some problems with availability of films. They contracted with Sovexport films and for a period many films from Soviet Union were screened here. Solaris by Tarkovsky was one of the few memorable films.[citation needed] Safire also screened morning shows on Sundays, when relatively non commercial films from India's many art film directors were screened. Pather Panchali Trilogy, Pratidwandi, Seemabaddha, and Jana Aranya were some such films screened and were quite popular with the city's multilingual audience, who did not have many other such venues in that time period.[citation needed]

Blue Diamond was famous for its continuous shows[2] and was extremely popular with the business travellers and the youth, being the only one of its type in India. The shows ran from 1 p.m. to post midnight 1 a.m. One could get in any time and stay till closing time, if one did not leave the foyer. Students loved it as it provided a place to retreat from the heat of Chennai, and also to view films repeatedly[citation needed]. Blue Diamond almost exclusively screened English films.

Both Blue Diamond and Emerald were small theatres with about 300 seats at the most. Emerald screened primarily Hindi and Tamil films.[2]

The complex was acquired in 1994 by the local All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political organization.[2] which wanted to construct its new headquarters. The entire Safire complex was demolished, but AIADMK did not end up building its headquarters and put the nearly one acre land area up for sale in 2012.[1]

Trivia[edit]

  • Safire was India's first 70mm theatre
  • The Safire complex was India’s first multiplex with three halls[3]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]