Show over at Jayanthi theatre, it’s going to be house full though

No show: Eros was one of the first theatres on L.B. Road and then came Jayanthi. The theatre became popular by virtue of screening Rajanikanth films such as Muthu and Basha. Photos: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

The Kalyanasundarams have never been to a theatre. They have never had to. The Kalyanasundarams live behind Jayanthi Theatre in Thiruvanmiyur. “Once hearing the hoots during a matinee show, my neighbour joked that we only had to sit on the balcony when the night show began, and we could listen to the entire film,” says Kokila Kalyanasundaram. That was over 10 years ago. Back then, the excitement before a big release and the milling crowd outside the theatre were common scenes for anyone who took the busy L.B. Road in Thiruvanmiyur. Over the years, the crowds outside the theatre have been thinning. The theatre has suffered from growing competition from glitzy multiplexes, as have many other iconic single-screen theatres across the city. This may be a hard news for residents like the Kalyanasundarams, for whom the theatre has been more than a theatre, but a defining feature of the neighbourhood.

Jayanthi Theatre screened Yamirukka Bayamen in May and pulled down its curtains, once and for ever.

“The owners do not have any immediate plans to pull it down but there are talks to convert the 18-ground land into a residential complex,” says S. Jayakumar, who has been the manager of the theatre for 20 years.

Opened in September 29, 1972, the theatre was the second one on Lattice Bridge Road. Eros was the first.

Run by D. Ramanujam, better known as ‘chamber Ramanujam’ as he served as secretary of South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce for a long time, the theatre was named after his daughter Jayanthi.

In its early years, the management introduced an offer where one could watch two shows per ticket.

“Those days, the canteen also served lunch,” recalls Jayakumar.

The theatre became popular by virtue of screening Rajinikanth films such as Muthu and Basha.

“For 35 days, both films ran full house. Those were some of the best days of the theatre,” recalls Jayakumar.

Longtime residents of the area say Eros was among the first theatres to come up in this part of the city.

Then came theatres such as Jayanthi, Thyagaraja and Ganapathi on L.B. Road.

“Unlike Jayanthi, which was first operated under a thatched roof, Eros was modern. Every Sunday, it used to screen an English movie that had many queuing up,” recalls V.S. Sukumar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar.

One reason many single-screen theatres such as Melody and Pilot have folded up in the recent months is because of competition from multiplexes.

The biggest competition for Jayanthi theatre came from Thyagaraja theatre, which was renovated a year and a half ago to accommodate two screens by SPI Cinemas.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 11:03:58 AM |

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