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Mumbai's Regal Cinema turns 80

The first show was on October 14, 1933: a Laurel and Hardy film, The Devil’s Brother. Designed by city architect FW Stevens’ son, Charles Stevens, it was made using reinforced cement concrete, which was a first. 


Regal theatre at Colaba. Pics/ Bipin Kokate

Czech artist Karl Schara, contributed to its ultra-modernist interiors. Regal Theatre was built as the city’s first exclusive theatre for films and heralded the arrival of Art Deco in India. It was owned by Parsi entrepreneur Framji Sidhwa who intended to build ‘The Best Cinema East of Suez’. It could seat 1,200 people and was India’s largest. It was cooled by India’s first ever air-conditioning system. It had a 65-feet-long steel balcony, which provided unobstructed seating and the auditorium covered the first underground car park in the country.  

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