Mumbai's Regal Cinema turns 80
The art deco complex of Regal Cinema, which opened in 1933, completes 80 years of screening films today, according to city history books. It was inaugurated by the then Governor of Bombay, Frederick Sykes
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.
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.