It’s Over, The Curtains Down: Elite Cinema Hall

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Kolkata: The old single screen cinema hall in the city of joy is going to close for ever. This place holds almost 60 years of history. Once a recreational movie hall where elite British officials would sit, drink and catch a movie, now stands barren.

Much of the crowd is directed towards the bar and restaurant right beside the theatre. But it still stands as one of the then elite-single theatres of Kolkata.

But now the company running the theatre has issued a notice declaring its “permanent and irrevocable closure” with effect from June 1.

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In January 1988, when Amitabh Bachchan-starrer ‘Shahenshah’ hit theatres, movie-goers queued up from the evening and three decades later, on May 31, 2018, the night show of John Abraham’s ‘Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran’ had to be cancelled as not a single ticket had been sold.

So Elite, which opened on August 2, 1940, and started as a hall meant to cater to the city’s elite, ended life without much of a farewell.Hindi films took over after that. “Mughal-e-Azam” released in 1960 and did such business that employees were given a bonus.

The services of all 18 staffers have been terminated with a promise of payment of “legal dues”. The 1,228-seater used to screen only English movies when it started life as a cinema hall. ‘Sound of Music’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘Ten Commandments’, ‘Godfather’, and ‘The Guns of Navarone’ had successful runs here.