Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is about to reclaim Roxy cinema hall, one of the most identifiable single screen theatres in the city which was leased out to Bengal Properties Private Limited (BPPL), along with the adjoining buildings on 4A and 4B Chowringhee Place. The lease deed was executed in 1908-09 for a period of 99 years.
The Roxy cinema hall, situated on plot 4B, is still controlled by BPPL, while the lease of plot 4A was handed over to another firm. Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim has reportedly asked the directors general of concerned KMC departments to start the takeover proceedings of Roxy.
Sources revealed that the civic body has plans to convert the Roxy cinema hall to a multistoried building which will house several KMC departments.
The lease between KMC and BPPL expired in 2007-08. KMC asked BPPL to pay ₹71.34 crore for extending the lease for another 99 years or vacate the property. BPPL refused the offer and KMC moved court. The Calcutta High Court, in August 2017, ruled that BPPL has to either pay the amount demanded by KMC or vacate the premises. The court also ordered KMC to declare those staying in the premises 4B as ‘unauthorised occupants’ and initiate action to vacate them.
Roxy was earlier known as Empire Theatre. Legendary danseuse Uday Shankar used to stage his plays at the theatre. It was later converted into a cinema hall. Gyan Mukherjee’s 1943 film Kismet, widely acknowledged as the first blockbuster in Hindi cinema, ran for a record 186 weeks at Roxy.