Last show over, Delhi’s iconic Regal Theatre shut shop
Regal Theatre, before shutting down on Thursday, screened Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker at 6 pm and Sangam at 9 pm. Several denizens came to relive nostalgic memories.delhi Updated: Mar 31, 2017 00:00 IST
They came from near and far — from as close as Pahargunj to as far as Haryana. They came to relive the nostalgia, to be part of one last evening show — the final night show at Regal Theatre, the 85-year-old iconic cinema in the heart of Delhi, which shut its doors to moviegoers on Thursday.
The hall that has 154 balcony seats, 285 rear seats, 40 boxes and 179 front seats had a full house for both the shows at 6pm and 9pm. The last time it had a full house was during the release of Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Salman Khan’s Sultan.
A monument to the city’s cinematic history, its social and cultural life, the Connaught Place theatre screened Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker and Sangam on the last day. A favourite of Kapoor, it hosted premieres of several films released under RK films, including Sangam that released in 1964 and Mera Naam Joker, first screened in 1970.
Some came alone, some with friends; many with family and even a few with their grandkids. Because Regal was a place of memories.
“We have been coming here for more than 50 years. We haven’t been able to in the past few years. But after hearing that it is shutting down, we had to come. And bring our grandkids too,” said 75-year-old PK Gulati from Gurgaon.
Regal opened in 1932 and was the city’s biggest and grandest theatre, a venue for ballets, plays and talkies. It was also the most sought-after theatre for red carpet premiers of both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. The theatre that once had Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru among its famous patrons may, however, return as a multiplex with four auditoria.
Gulsahan Anand, 67, who lives in Indirapuram said he used to come here in his young days from Ambala.
“I stayed at my relative house in Tilak Nagar and came here on DTC bus No.6. I am here to show my gratitude to the cinema hall,” said Anand.
Sourav, who had come from Paharganj to buy tickets for the last show, said, “My father had great memories attached with it, so he had sent me to buy tickets for the screening of Sangam.”
Sristi had come along with her grandparents to see the movie. Her grandparents lived in central Delhi, near the cinema hall, and have several memories attached to it. “My grandparents lived here and saw several movies here in their younger days,” she said.
Indrajeet Sharma, who came from Dilshad Garden, said, “This was the most popular cinema hall of our times. So I thought let me go and watch the last day last show of this cinema.”
One of the owners of the hall, Vishal Choudhary, said that he had received many requests and fan mails to screen Raj Kapoor movies as the hall was the director’s favourite. “We made no special arrangements. Hopefully, we will be back soon after renovations. The facade will not be changed as the building is a heritage structure, but there will be major changes inside, including a new design of the hall, better seats, new toilets and canteen,” he said.