Mumbai: Multiplex, high-rise building to pull curtains on Iconic Chandan cinema
Single-screen theatre in Juhu, which is a haven for fans of masala potboilers, is unable to sustain and will go in for redevelopment
Six months after reports of Regal cinema staring at a shutdown, we hear Juhu's 45-year-old Chandan cinema will soon down its shutters. Owner Sameer Joshi confirmed the development and said, "Yes, we are shutting down, but we haven't decided when exactly. Chandan loyalists needn't be worried because we will be coming up with multiple screens."
"We aren't partnering with any cinema chains. it was purely a business decision between the Wadhwa Group and us." He blamed the kind of films for falling footfall. "There are very few movies today that cater to the masses. For a single screen cinema like us, which is a 650-seater, we struggle to fill even 100 seats." Joshi adds that the slide has also increased since web streaming platforms came in. "People are looking at alternative modes of entertainment. Netflix and Amazon has kind of ruined the business."
He also points out that the government hasn't provided any help to keep the single screens afloat. "Today, we have a 4K projection, better seats and the latest sound system, but the government is worried about where they will collect GST and talk about fiscal deficit in revenues. They have requested single screen owners not to shut down but don't understand that everybody has to change with time. Our association [single screen owners association] has made many presentations on how some aid will help us stay afloat but it has fallen on deaf ears."
Trade analyst Amod Mehra remembers watching many films at Chandan that had opened in 1973. He believes that it is difficult to imagine so many single screens being shut down. "I can understand that it is completely a business decision, but I feel the government needs to step in and save this dying breed and preserve the city's art heritage. It is really sad to hear that many single screens are being forced to shut down."
Shadab Shaikh, an autorickshaw driver, who had just watched Ranveer Singh's Simmba there, said, "This was the only theatre with affordable pricing [currently the ticket rates are in the range of Rs 150-180]. The crowd at Chandan likes to whistle, clap and even abuse which is the real fun."
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