Movie-going now comes with add-on options - luxury shopping, dining and pubbing, to name a few.
But, in my childhood, and even a few years back, watching movies in Kolkata meant visiting the single screen theaters of all shapes and sizes, in all kinds of localities. Watching movies in these cinema halls, better referred to as 'Cinema Houses' by the elite and the intellectuals, meant soaking in the ambience of cross-cultural traditions, and taking a peek at the cross-section of society, unified only by their love for cinema. The cinema-houses, needless to assert, were open to all, irrespective of race, caste or class. As the patrons were from all sections of the society, the audience had quite an egalitarian and representative character.
One of the reasons multiplexes are replacing single-screen theatres in the city is that people are becoming more affluent. The exorbitant prices charged at the multiplexes deter the not-so-affluent to watch movies there, at the same time extra comfort and cutting edge sound & projection systems make movie viewing a delight for the connoisseur. Thankfully, after the multiplex boom, some halls like Priya and Menoka have been wonderfully renovated, without letting the entry prices soar to the skies. It seems quite an irony that, financially, single-screen theaters are difficult to run. The market dynamics have changed so much that many of these spacious single screen cinama-houses started resembling like the dinosaurs that had to be edged out by the plexes.
Minerva (renamed: Chaplin)