Question Marks over Priya Cinema Hall

RBN Web Desk: A week since a fire broke out at Priya Cinema, one of the most prominent single-screen theatres in eastern India, the hall still remains shut for film screenings. The West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services (WBFES) had ordered a temporary closure of the hall until completion of investigation and the receipt of the no-objection papers from the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation and Kolkata Police.

Senior WBFES officials, including its director general Jag Mohan, had inspected the south Kolkata theatre on 6 August. They were accompanied by a team of forensic experts from Kolkata Police. The fire at the theatre broke out on the night of 5 August. The forensic team had collected samples from the hall and other parts of the building.

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Sources, meanwhile, informed that Priya Cinema hall was built on a leased land reportedly owned by a certain Banerjee family of Bhawanipore-Chakraberia area. The land was leased out to Nepal Dutta, grandfather of the current owner Arijit Dutta. Nepal Dutta, incidentally, was the producer of Satyajit Ray’s cult 1969 film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne. Members of the Banerjee family used to watch films free of cost in an exclusive box at the theatre. The lease, sources claimed, is nearing the end of its tenure and the hall can only continue operations subject to a renewal of the term.


That aside, doubts have now been raised regarding the number of people actually present inside the theatre when the fire broke out last Sunday. The 700-seater Priya Cinema hall is one of the most popular film theatres in Kolkata and weekend shows usually attract near-capacity crowds. Arjit, according to media reports, had claimed that there were 100 odd people inside the theatre during the fire.

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Sources disclosed that the owners of the hall now have to implement several changes inside the theatre according to the instructions issued by the fire department. These include changes in the floor plan, electrical safety measures, and relocation of food stalls, sources added.

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