Kolkata: Trouble, it seems, is in an unending spiral for Priya Cinema owner Arijit Dutta. The West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services (WBFES), in less than 24 hours since giving a no-objection certificate (NOC) to resume operations at the theatre, has scrapped its order until further notice. The fire department had ordered a closure of the hall after a fire broke out at a food stall in the theatre on the night of 5 August.
In an intimation dated 30 September, WBFES withdrew its previous NOC, until the entire building where the theatre is housed passes the necessary fire safety standards as mandated by the department.
The revocation of the NOC, undeniably, has come as a rude shock to Arijit Dutta.
It has been learnt that the divisional fire officer of south Kolkata area withdrew the NOC after a review of the theatre. The fire department, after inspection of the theatre following the fire, had recommended several changes to the theatre including the installation of new fire safety apparatus and changes in the floor plan, before it awarded an NOC.
Co-owner of Priya Cinema, Esha Dutta, told the media that two inspections were carried out at the theatre on 24 and 27 August by the concerned state government officials. They discussed the matter between them and the NOC to resume operations was subsequently issued on 29 September. What happened in the next 24 hours that made the fire department scrap its NOC, is a mystery, Esha said.
The family-owned Priya Cinema, one of the most prominent single-screen theatres in eastern India, was slated to reopen on 9 October. From 9 to 11 October, films produced by the Dutta family were scheduled to be screened at the theatre. These include Satyajit Ray’s Aranyer Din Ratri (1970), Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969), and Pratidwandi (1970), and Tapan Sinha’s 1967 film Hatey Bazare. Also on the cards was the premiere of director Kaushik Ganguly’s upcoming film Kishore Kumar Junior on 12 October.
The Dutta family will now reapply online for the NOC. That too, Esha said, involves huge paperwork but would at least be quicker than submitting the papers physically. With the Puja season coming up, time is not on their side and they can’t afford to lose out on business, she added.