Kolkata: The Metro Cinema hall, one of the most iconic buildings in the city, is all set to throw open its doors once again albeit in a new avatar. The single screen theatre right in the heart of Kolkata at Esplanade had shut shop in 2011 because of thinning crowds.
The landmark Metro cinema building was built by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), one of the biggest production houses in Hollywood, in 1934 to exclusively screen their films in the city. MGM opened the Metro cinema chain in all major cities under the then British Empire. The hall at Kolkata (then Calcutta) was considered the most opulent in the MGM chain outside Britain, lending an unmatched cinema experience to the audience. It was also probably the first theatre to introduce morning shows in the city. The spiral wooden staircase and the gallery with life-sized cutouts of Hollywood stars like Marylyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and others, was a major attraction at the hall.
The property, in 2017, was handed over to a leading retail chain which has several multistoried shopping malls across the country. The hall has since been renovated, keeping the wooden staircase and the domed pillars intact. The entire façade has also been retained. Since the property was already a declared heritage structure, the renovation was carried out under the supervision of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the West Bengal Heritage Commission.
Three of the six floors in the renovated Metro cinema building have been let out to retailers. While one of the floors has been marked for a food court, the other will house a two-screen theatre from a leading multiplex chain. That aside, there will be an 80,000sqft flagship shopping mall of the retail chain which carried out the renovation.
The renovated Metro cinema hall will open soon.