Single-screen Theatres of Bangalore: The last remaining frames of a bygone culture

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Single-screen Theatres of Bangalore: The last remaining frames of a bygone culture

A Photo Essay by PeeVee

If there was one madness about Bengaluru in the quiet bygone era, it was the craze for cinema. There were more than a hundred single-screen theatres in Bengaluru with the famed Kempegowda road in Gandhinagar alone housing more theatres per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. Bengaluru's cinema culture was generous and played host to multi-lingual cinema across genres from all over the world. Movies of famous cine stars of the south were released in designated theatres and the opening show was no less than a festival celebration with the fans ensuring that their favourite hero is treated with garlands, coins, fruits; the song and fight sequences would bring out the whistles and catcalls. The days of the humungous cut-outs of the stars, the joy of watching films from the Gandhi-class stalls and the interval Bhajji Bonda are slowly giving way to the sophisticated environment of the multiplexes. While many of the single-screen theatres have downed their shutters in recent years, there are a few holding fort albeit on their last legs.

We asked Bengaluru photographer, PeeVee to share some of his images of these theatres that he has managed to capture through the years.

Shivaji Theatre, JC Road

The iconic Shivaji theatre
The iconic Shivaji theatre

New Manjunatha Chitra Mandira, New Thippasandra

Only the walls remain now of the New Manjunatha Chitra Mandir
Only the walls remain now of the New Manjunatha Chitra Mandir

Ajanta Theatre, Ulsoor

The isolated Ajanta Theatre in the middle of Ulsoor
The isolated Ajanta Theatre in the middle of Ulsoor

Elgin Talkies, Shivajinagar

There's hardly any talking now in Elgin Talkies
There's hardly any talking now in Elgin Talkies

Gopal Theatre, Yeshwanthpur

Renuka Theatre, Shivaji Nagar

Renuka Theatre stands stranded amidst the bustling Shivaji Nagar
Renuka Theatre stands stranded amidst the bustling Shivaji Nagar

Rex Theatre, Brigade Road

The Rex was closed in 2018
The Rex was closed in 2018

Tribhuvan Theatre, Gandhinagar

The Tribhuvan Theatre in Gandhinagar which once was
The Tribhuvan Theatre in Gandhinagar which once was

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PeeVee is a people photographer and creative entrepreneur based in Bangalore, India. He won the prestigious Sahapedia Frames Grant, as one of the 25 photographers from across India, and documenting the Inscription Stones of Bengaluru. He is an official photography mentor at Nikon School.

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