Platinum loses sheen amid multiplex dazzle

Single screen theatres down shutters gradually in coastal city

A theatre in the city stopped screening just when the state government is all set to popularise the concept of Janata Chitramandira.

Thanks to the dwindling audience, dip in revenue and mushrooming of multiplexes, Platinum theatre on Falnir Road, one of the prominent commercial hubs in the coast, has shut shop since new year. Mangaluru boasts of three multiplexes - PVR Cinemas at Forum Fiza Mall at Pandeshwar, Cinepolis at City Centre Mall on K S Rao Road and Big Cinemas at Bharat Mall.

With multiplexes giving undue preference to movies in other languages and single screens slowly being relegated to pages of history, the Karnataka Chalanachitra Akademi came out with the Janata Chitramandira concept to ensure more screening of Kannada films.

Platinum theatre began 40 years ago and screened a good number of movies in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. The last movie to be screened was Vishal-starrer ‘Kaththi Sandai,’ a Tamil flick which ringed in a decent collection.

Yawning gap
Ashok Kumar, the film exhibitor who runs the theatre on a contract basis, told DH: “It had become inevitable to stop screening due to a yawning gap between the maintenance cost and the revenue. Since I was incurring loss for the last three years, I decided not to renew the exhibition licence that was due on January 1.”

Kumar attributes the loss to multiplexes that have slashed fares that match with that of single screen theatres. It is obvious for movie-goers to opt for swanky screens instead of single screen theatres. The spiralling maintenance cost of these theatres include monthly electricity bills that hover between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000, salaries of workers (it is difficult to get manpower for a lesser pay), repair and maintenance, generators, rent to be paid to the theatre owner and other miscellaneous expenditures.”

Kumar said except for Rajinikanth starrer ‘Sivaji’, he cannot rate any movies that run beyond two weeks. Vijay starrer ‘Kaththi’ was released in 2014. Suriya-starrer ‘Singham’ - part I and II - were also screened here. The theatre has a seating capacity of 720 including 330 balcony seats, 390 on the ground (first class) and 60 front seats, known as the ‘Gandhi class’. Amrut theatre at Pandeshwara closed shop down five years ago.

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