Another single-screen movie theatre in south Delhi will become history and bite the dust.
A glitzy shopping complex-cum-multiplex will replace 35-year-old Sangam Cinema in RK Puram’s Sector-9 that catered to middle class families with its low priced tickets. The hall is going to be demolished by the end of this year.
At this hall, movie tickets were priced between Rs 50 and Rs 120. At most multiplexes movie ticket costs Rs 250-500 on weekends.
Only two years ago, another affordable theatre in the neighbourhood, Chanakya cinema, was closed for a high-end shopping mall. Last October, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had decided to convert Novelty Cinema in Old Delhi into a shopping centre.
Bleeding cash registers and competition from other commercial shopping complexes nearby are cited as reasons for closing these cinema halls. Sangam Cinema has a seating capacity of 1,094.
“The occupancy is low and there is hardly any profit. Instead of wasting such a huge space, the owners decided that it should be utilised in a proper way. The single screen theatre will be turned into a shopping centre and will have twin movie halls,” said S.K. Saxena, who has been a manager at Sangam cinema since it started.
Recently, cinema hall owners applied to the licensing branch of Delhi Police asking them for a “provisional licence” to build commercial centres in place of the theatres.
“The management of Sangam Cinema approached us and they asked for a licence to build a commercial centre. We have forwarded the building plans to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and have asked them for their response,” said Sandeep Goel, additional commissioner of police (licensing).
The MCD has been asked to submit its reply by the month of August.
“I have been associated with this theatre since it opened in 1975. These days there is no profit in running it and there should always be a scope for improvement and development,” said Saxena, adding that on an average the theatre has occupancy rate of only 25 per cent.
He added that as soon as the building plan is sanctioned they would start the construction work. “The construction work would start in the beginning of next year,” said Saxena.
“There are so many multiplexes in the area we don't need more of them. After Chanakya was closed, we thronged to Sangam to catch a movie. Where else could you get an air-conditioned comfort for Rs 100,” said Kritika Sheth, a resident of RK Puram who has been visiting Sangam since childhood.