End of the road for Amba theatre

One more bites the dust: The landmark Amba theatre in Mehdipatnam was brought down last week.   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

The iconic Amba Theatre in the Mehdipatnam area has been torn down to make way for a proposed retail mall.

Catering to the student community in Santoshnagar, Mehdipatnam, Gudimalkapur and Masab Tank, the single-screen theatre screening both Hindi movies like ‘Qurbaani’, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ to Telugu movies like ‘Vakeel Saab’ was very popular till the Over-The-Top streaming platforms took off in a big way.

The two successive lockdowns due to COVID proved to be a double whammy from which the cinema hall could not escape. The last screening was that of a romantic movie starring Ramya Krishna and two unknown actors.

“There were no viewers for many shows. I think that’s why the owners decided to turn into a commercial complex,” said the security person at the site.

As the news about the demolition spread on social media, many residents in the surrounding areas shared their movie experiences at the cinema hall. “I watched movies almost everyday during my college days as the theatre had a very good ambience, was well-maintained and was among the first to get Dolby surround sound system,” said Sridhar, who remembers watching the 1996 blockbuster ‘Prema Desam’.

The theatre was very popular with students from the University of Hyderabad, as the nearby bus depot had a ticket booking counter. “University students would come to the area to book their bus tickets, watch a movie and then catch the bus home. That was the routine for many,” says Sridhar about the 1996-2000 period before online ticket booking became the norm.

In November 2020, as cinema halls remained shut due to COVID protocol, word spread that five cinema halls, including Amba, were being axed. The officials denied the news at that time saying there is no change of ownership.

Another theatre that has been razed during this period is Galaxy in Tolichowki area. The financial details of the transaction or the current ownership pattern of the site could not be ascertained.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 1:06:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/end-of-the-road-for-amba-theatre/article37743444.ece

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