Cine stars used to frequent Andhra Ratna Road and Nageswararao Pantulu Road
Some call it the Broadway of Vijayawada. The Andhra Ratna Road, the busiest street in Gandhinagar, has over a dozen cinema theatres. Another important road of Gandhinagar is the Nageswararao Pantulu Road. The two roads that run parallel to each other, and over a dozen smaller streets that cut across them, housed all the important film distribution companies in the State about a decade ago.
The film distribution business has undergone sea change since then. Anyone who wanted to screen a film in Andhra Pradesh had to come to Gandhinagar. D. Ramanaidu, Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific film producer, was a regular visitor to Navayuga Films, a distribution company, which distributed all his films. Mr. Ramanaidu along with his son Suresh Daggubati subsequently started their own production company, Suresh Productions.
Matinee idol, and who later became Chief Minister, N.T. Rama Rao, always stayed in the guest house attached to Durgakalamandiram at one end of Andhra Ratna Road. Another contemporary star G. Krishna used to come to the office of Sri Films on Sanyasiraju Road that cuts across Andhra Ratna Road and Nageswararao Pantulu Road. Whenever such stars came to town fans thronged the film distribution offices.
The office of the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce is also located in Gandhi Nagar.
Vijayawada became the capital of Telugu film distribution because the first cinema theatre, Maruthi Talkies, was built here. Some of the old theatres like Durgakalamandiram, Lakshmi Talkies, Saraswathi Talkies and Rama Talkies were also constructed here.
The first cine theatre, Maruthi Talkies, was not located in Gandhinagar, but it was subsequently demolished and converted into a shopping complex. Saraswathi and Lakshmi that were not in Gandhinagar or Andhra Ratna Road were also demolished and converted into shopping complexes. Rama Talkies and Durgakalamandir that are both located on Andhra Ratna Road are still running. Film chamber secretary R.V. Bhupal Prasad told The Hindu that Vijayawada became the capital of film distribution because the town was centrally located and several film financiers and producers were based here.
Earlier, the producers released the film through the distributors, but now they were releasing the film to the highest bidder. With this the business became de-centralised.