Elite Cinema Downs Shutters

RBN Web Desk: In another instance of a single-screen theatre biting the dust, Elite cinema hall, once counted among the most prestigious venues to watch a film in Kolkata, has permanently downed shutters with all its employees given release letters. The theatre had its last show on 31 May.

The owners of the hall told the media, they have no option left but to close it down, in the face of mounting losses. The latest release Parmanu, directed by Abhishek Sharma, managed to collect only ₹30,000 over the weekend, they said, adding that it’s not feasible to run the cinema hall, where the electric bill alone is more than ₹1.5 lakh every month.

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Elite opened its doors in 1940 and was a ballroom and dance floor for the city’s high society; hence the name. It was converted to a cinema hall after independence and used to show only English films in the beginning. These included blockbusters like Gone with the Wind (1939), The Ten Commandments (1956), The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Sound of Music (1965), The Godfather (1972), and others. K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960) was a major hit at Elite and the employees were paid huge bonuses out of the profits from exhibiting the film.

Over the years, the 1,228-seat theatre became unviable to run, as multiplexes with smaller auditoriums running several films simultaneously became the new business model.

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The owners didn’t disclose what they plan to do with the property.

Several single-screen theatres at Esplanade, once known as the city’s cinema-hall district, have closed down in the last decade.

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