The curtain falls on the projector

It was ‘The End’ for two iconic single screens — Tribhuvan and Kailash — on Thursday. The Hindu’s Muralidhara Khajane watched the last day, last show.

Published - April 29, 2016 09:23 am IST - BENGALURU:

Tribhuvan theatre was built in 1974;

Tribhuvan theatre was built in 1974;

Srinivas was 23 when he began working at the ticket counter in Tribhuvan theatre. The 66-year-old looked heart-broken as he issued a ticket to me for the last-ever show here at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

“It’s The End,” he said, tears trickling down his eyes, unable to find words. Not far from him, Kumar S. (50), who managed the cycle stand and the canteen, was silently mourning in front of a broken frame where film stills were showcased all these years.

An unmissable nostalgia, mixed with sadness and fear of an uncertain future, was writ large on the faces of all staff members. The theatre and its history engulfed all thoughts as I quietly found my way into the hall.

It will be just an impossible dream to be here from Friday, and soon, the venue may be demolished to make way for a commercial complex.

Everyone in the hall seemed keen to experience sitting in the dark hall, the “hangout place” of their youth filled with memories, for the last time. Watching the film Lal Rang playing on the screen did not seem to matter. One could sense that the hall was deserted even in the darkness with only 40 people to fill a seating capacity of 1,700. But for the 40 who made it, every moment mattered, and with Tribhuvan gone, a part of their life too would disappear.

Krishna Prasad (70) and his wife Rajeshwari (63) had watched countless Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films here for 30 years. They were blankly gazing at the screen. “We wanted to say goodbye to our favourite theatre, with which we had an emotional connect. We love single screens because going to a multiplex is too inconvenient and expensive,” said Mr. Prasad, reeling out the names of films he had watched here.

Rame Gowda, a retired KEB employee, was not in a mood to reply to the media’s clichéd queries.

He was on his own nostalgic trip. The canteen counter, which used to be filled with the aroma of popcorn and potato chips, wore a deserted look, as if to reflect Mr. Rame Gowda’s mood. The show would no longer go on. Tribhuvan and Kailash will soon join the long list of single screens that have been demolished over the last few years in Gandhi Nagar.

Once embedded in the collective conscience of Bengaluru’s cinema-going crowd, they would remain a memory for the 40 spectators in the hall, like me, and thousands who didn’t make it for the last show. As I walked away from Tribhuvan, I gazed towards Kapali, Movie Land and the last few single screens in the area. Each had a memory that most old-timers would connect with, and many of them may be staring at the end of their times.

Standing at the gate, Jnaneshwara Aithal, the leaseholder of the land on which the theatres stand, said, “It is inevitable. We are building a commercial mall here, not a cine complex, as there is no space.” Economic realities were more powerful than the magic of nostalgia.

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