D D Urs, Jayalalithaa have watched movies here

Walk the talkies

Lakshmi theatre in the heart of the city has the credit of being the place for VIPs to watch cinema of their choices. It has remained Kannada stronghold for over four decades, writes Sreekantswamy B

A  theatre in the city has in its proud possession, the visit of yesteryear’s greats who made a name in politics and also cinema. While few among them are still alive, few others though not amidst us, still remain alive for the noble deeds left behind by them.

Lakshmi theatre on Chamaraja double road here is that place, where the then chief minister D Devaraj Urs, his successor R Gundu Rao, popular script writer and lyricist of Tamil cinema Karunanidhi and another popular actress Jayalalithaa have watched  movies of their choice. Both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa later went on to became chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and still continue to remain arch rivals on political front.

C S Subramanian the owner of the theatre told City Herald, the VIPs were coming unannounced for the night shows obviously to escape the prying eyes. It was only during intervals, the attenders in the cine hall were coming to know about high-profile audience . As is the routine to welcome a dignitary, Subramanian and his father were honouring them with  garlands and basket of fruits.

His memory is still afresh about Jayalalithaa’s visit. She was seated in a dedicated box with sophisticated seating arrangements. During interval, she waved at the audience only to create a joyous atmosphere. Her fans were eager to get a glimpse of their screen diva.

Amrutham a known director in Tamil cinema had also wielded megaphone for a Kannada movie. He had directed ‘Hudugatada Hudugi’ starring Manjula. The theatre was screening the movie, when Amrutham a close associate of Karunanidhi had brought the latter to the theatre. 

Our own matinee idol Dr Rajkumar too had visited the theatre during the silver jubilee run of ‘Sanadi Appanna’.

A known place for sandalwood flicks, the cine hall has the credit of screening Vishnuvardhan’s most hits till the actor’s last- Aaptarakshaka.  Bandana, Kittu Puttu, Yajamaana, Aaptamitra, Jote Joteyali,  Savari,  Sarathy are among few of the several hits screened here.  However, Yajamaana ran for 40 weeks and still remains the record here. Almost all the films produced by L  Abbai Naidu, known for his series of films on motherly sentiment has been screened here.

 Earlier when the theatre opened its doors on April 15, 1949 it was known for Tamil films. Pasamalar starring Shivaji Ganesan is successfully screened here, recalls Subramanian. 

Quoting a news clipping published in ‘Deccan Herald’ and neatly maintained in a file, Subramanian said the theatre was founded by Balendu Shah and was inaugurated by then minister for labour and law K T Bhashyam. It was in the 70’s the theatre was taken  over by C Srikantan ( father of Subramanian) and his partner K Ramarao. It was since then, Kannada films replaced Tamil and ‘Hasiru Thorana’ was the first Kannada film screened and also completed 100 days run.

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