For old time's sake

For old time's sake

For old time's sake

The city might have undergone a massive transformation through the years. But for those who proudly hold on to their identity as ‘old Bangaloreans’, a trip back in time is generally incomplete without a mention of its iconic coffee shops and restaurants, the many bubbling lung spaces and legendary movie theatres.

So when the curtains came down on Kapali theatre in Gandhinagar, nostalgia came calling for many from the older generation, who recalled their fond memories of the entertainment space. The owners of the theatre have sold it and a commercial building with a multiplex is expected to replace it.

M G J Naidu, a retired entrepreneur and an octogenarian, says, “During that time, the tickets for Kapali theatre were very expensive; it was around Rs 10 for a seat in the middle class. The cinerama technique used for screening films there became very popular and sometimes, the tickets were not available for weeks together. I remember I had just got married and wanted to watch a film with my wife there but was unable to get the tickets.”

“I watched only a couple of English films at Kapali theatre later but I must say that the experience was fantastic. Seeing large images on a spotless, pure white screen was something else. It was the largest theatre at that time, even bigger than States theatre on KG Road,” he adds.

K R Sathish, a retired advertising consultant, recollects, “I had initially watched a documentary film, in cinerama technique, with my friends at Kapali theatre. It was a thrilling experience, rather fascinating, to watch a film on a circular screen, with great sound and visual effects. In fact, Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Sholay’ was first screened there in all of Bengaluru. It became an absolute craze, also given that it was partly shot near Ramanagara in Karnataka.”

A fan of actor Rajesh Khanna, the 65-year-old also watched his film ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’ at the prestigious theatre. “My friends and I witnessed the shooting of ‘Milap’, starring Shatrughan Sinha and Reena Roy, at Nandi Hills. Interestingly, we thought we would also be featured somewhere in one of the songs which is why we eagerly went to watch the film at Kapali theatre. The film didn’t do that well though.

I also watched Dr Rajkumar’s film ‘Haalu Jenu’ there with my family and we thoroughly enjoyed it,” he adds.

For 75-year-old T L Ramakrishna, Kapali theatre was like a new generation theatre. “It was quite costly. However, I watched a few Hindi and Kannada films as well as a couple of Telugu movies there with my family and friends. Films of top actors of that time like Asha Parekh, Dilip Kumar and Rajendra Kumar were screened there. Even the cafeteria at the theatre had good quality refreshments including cakes, veg puffs and cold drinks. Though popcorn was a new thing at that time, it was sold there. The only inconvenience we faced was the lack of parking space.

Nevertheless, Kapali theatre had a class of its own.”

On the theatre being shut down now, Ramakrishna says that he feels sorry to hear that. “Sometime in the middle, it was closed down for a while due to lack of patronage and then it reopened. I am a man from the older generation and not very happy to hear that the theatre will now make way for a multiplex.

However, as it has always been, things keep changing and the old must make way for the new.”