HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Releasing today: Odeon theatre in new avatar

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 14, 2009
First Published: 00:26 IST(14/8/2009) | Last Updated: 02:48 IST(14/8/2009)

The camel green sofas have come from Italy, the pastel carpets with floral designs from Turkey, the golden wallpapers and state-of-the-art Xenon film projectors are from the US. This is Odeon 2.0.


Come Friday noon, the 70-year-old Odeon Theatre in D block, Connaught Place, will once again roll out the red carpet for its patrons.

A single-screen facility earlier, the theatre has transformed into a multiplex with two screens after a nine-month makeover worth around Rs. 7 crore.

Originally designed by Robert Tor Russell, the architect who designed Connaught Place, the heritage structure had a Georgian façade and tall columns. And it was more than just a movie hall till its owners closed it three years ago.

“It had become a sentimental landmark in Connaught Place. It was a place where we lounged with our friends and families,” said electronics engineer and Dwarka resident Vikas Pant (38), who used to be a regular at Odeon.

The changed theatre will be known as Odeon Big Cinemas from Friday when it begins screening Bollywood blockbusters Kaminey and Life partner, said Tushar Dhingra (38), the Chief Operating Officer of BIG Cinemas, Adlabs Films Limited (a film and entertainment company owned by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group).

“It was a challenge to refurbish this theatre that has been a landmark in Connaught Place and a part of Delhi’s life,” said Dhingra, who executed the makeover project after his company acquired the theatre on a “long-term lease” from the Sahni family three years ago.

The building’s facade comprises a rectangular, plain slab painted in shiny ivory while its lower portions are covered by black marble.

Inside the theatre, along metal railings laminated in gold, the stark colours of the exterior give way to an interior glowing in sublime silver, pastel and golden “to enhance the drama”, as Dhingra put it.

Pradyumn Shukla (28), who assists in running the Odeon Pan Shop — set up in 1948 —expects a “boom from Friday”.

“When Mard was released here in the 80s, tickets were sold in black near Janpath and Minto bridge that are hundreds of metres away…Those days will come back now,” said D.N. Shukla (61), Pradyumn’s father.

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