While it may be hard to imagine for most who have grown up on a steady dose of movies at the multiplexes, there were simpler times when single screen cinemas were all we had. Although many of them have closed down, there are some that stubbornly persist despite losses. These were also times when actors would make appearances in these halls during screenings to promote their films, since they did not have multiple reality shows to do so. With tickets priced cheaper than the popcorn at most multiplexes, the single screen cinemas are an endangered species which is bound to go extinct sooner rather than later. Here is a look at some such cinema halls that are still functioning in New Delhi-
Established way back in pre-independence India, the first film to be screened at the Regal was the Hollywood classic Gone with the Wind, in 1939. Film stars such as Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor are some of the few that visited the cinema during screenings of their movies. They would also interact with audiences. Situated in the midst of a rapidly modernising Connaught Place, Regal stands out from the crowd. Its central location has ensured that it remains slightly more relevant than many other ailing single screen cinemas in Delhi.
Where: Connaught Place
Nearest Metro Station: Rajiv Chowk
With tickets priced as low as Rs 60, the tickets cost less than a bottle of water at most other halls. Amba is preferred by students of North campus. Political bigwigs such as Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai are known to have frequented Amba Cinema. Its proximity to Kamla Nagar market makes it accessible to students living in various college hostels nearby. Due to its cheap rates, Amba is also known to attract loud, unruly visitors; the kind who cheer on Salman Khan as he bashes up everyone. It is not recommended for a family viewing experience, but is immense fun for a college going student.
Where: Shakti Nagar
Nearest Metro Station: Vishwavidyalaya
It is easy to not spot Moti Cinema as it is located in the middle of the cramped lanes of Chandni Chowk, where separate buildings seem to merge with one another. To stay afloat in a competitive market, the proprietors of the establishment now exclusively run B-grade Hindi movies, or Bhojpuri movies. Due to an abundance of movie watching options in the city, screening a Hindi movie is no longer profitable to the smaller players in the market.
Where: Chandni Chowk
Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk
This particular hall is significant as it was the first ever 70mm screen in the capital. Established in 1960, the 65 foot wide mural here is one of the aspects that make it distinctly memorable. Like many other single screen cinemas, this one is located in Central Delhi; ie Paharganj.
Where: Sadar Bazaar
Nearest Metro Station: New Delhi Railway Station
Although recently renovated, Delite retains its heritage look. It now boasts of an impressive Dolby Atmos sound system. Located on Asaf Ali Road, the ticket prices here start from a meagre Rs 70. To adapt to changing times, an adjacent screen was added in the form of Delite Diamond to make sure people have more viewing choices.
Where: Asaf Ali Road
Nearest Metro: Chawri Bazaar
Batra opened in 1979 with Art Deco aesthetic and remains relevant to the student generation even today, which is quite a feat. Established in 1979, this is one of the few such cinemas, along with Amba, that is not located in Central Delhi. Batra is located in Mukherjee Nagar. The hall mostly attracts students from nearby colleges. Most of the patrons here are the IAS, IPS aspirants who live around the area.
Where: Mukherjee Nagar
Nearest Metro: GTB Nagar