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Decking up?

Statesman News Service |

A correspondent writes: They were grand and spacious structures where people from far and near flocked to for entertainment. They began from Jadu Babur bazaar and stretched almost up to the junction of Rashbehari Avenue and Syamaprasad Mookherjee Road. It was their presence, which made this stretch the cinemapara of the south. But now they are a thing of the past. Rupali, the first of the cinema halls with a large courtyard that housed a shop selling delicious mutton chops, without a pinch to the pocket, has made way for a huge shopping complex.

The next to go was Purna, once a theatre hall near which Tarashankar Bandopadhaya lived in a slum in the years he was struggling for literary success. The collapsible gates are now locked. The scenes which old timers fondly recall of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, (both local boys) sauntering into the foyer through these gates are fond memories now. Ujjala is a lofty structure housing a company dealing in beauty products. Bharati too is a lofty structure drawing sighs from oldtimers. Indira, Bijoli and Basusree are continuing to screen films old and new and which often run to packed houses — they are the only signs of assurance to lovers of the big screen that the flag of the cinemapara of the south is still being held aloft. But I was dismayed last week at the sight of Bijoli with downed shutters. I came to now that it is closed temporarily for renovation. Let it be so. I am looking forward to see a film in a decked up Bijoli.