I have seen a seven-star luxury hotel coming up here some years ago and thrive in front of my theatre for the working class. This would have been unthinkable in this area, but the change has happened. Parel-Lalbaug as we knew it for decades together, has evolved and is evolving. But naturally, a new culture is also evolving, we will have to wait and see what this culture is all about.
Bharatmata Talkies is an aspect of that evolution. It's been in my family for three generations now, and I have held on to it despite the heap of problems. We have even managed to make it state-of-the-art from inside. It's now the only theatre in the city that exclusively runs Marathi movies and attendant programmes. And, it's not a favour the film industry does to us; we make it profitable for Marathi filmmakers to show at Bharatmata. But I don't make money off the theatre, I can afford to keep it going because I have a day job where I teach economics and finance.
There are two aspects to Bharatmata -the physical and the cultural. We have tried to preserve the physical structure, though time will take its toll. But Bharatmata is also a cultural mindset and platform. My vision is that it evolves into something like Prithvi, a hub for new, experimental, artistic Marathi endeavours.
(Kapil Bhopatkar is managing partner of the theatre)