Exhibitors see red over BBMP's delay in reopening Shankarnag cinema

Exhibitors see red over BBMP's delay in reopening Shankarnag cinema

Theatre closed as Inox's lease ended with Palike in May

Exhibitors see red over BBMP's delay in reopening Shankarnag cinema

The BBMP’s negligence in reviving the city’s iconic single-screen theatre Shanka­rnag Chitram­andira on MG Road has angered exhibitors in the Kannada film industry.

Shanka­rnag Chitram­andira stopped operations last week as the Palike’s lease agreement with Mumbai-based INOX Leisure Limited (ILL) expired. The BBMP is yet to invite tenders for fresh lease, while the ILL management is unwilling to run the theatre for another term due to serious financial differences. It is the only theatre under the Palike’s control at present. Puttanna Kanagal cinema in Jayanagar 4th Block, which the Palike owns, was shut down in 2004.

The Palike leased Shankarnag cinema to the ILL for a monthly consideration of Rs 17.5 lakh in 2009. “The BBMP and ILL have moved court over financial disputes. Meanwhile, the lease agreement has ended,” a leading exhibitor told DH. Exhibitors want BBMP to establish a single window system to manage the theatre. Many of them are willing to renovate it by paying Rs 2 crore from their pockets. They say the renovation is needed to meet multiplex standards and the audience taste. They say they are ready to pay extra monthly lease amount than what was fixed for the ILL. However, they are angry as there is no response from the BBMP.

Manjunath, who exhibited successful films such as Kirik Party, U Turn, Kotigobba and Rajakumara at the theatre says: “Over 10 exhibitors, including me, are willing to renovate the cinema on our own and run it on lease, but the BBMP should respond.” There is no single single-screen theatre between KG Road and Marathahalli. Shanka­rnag Chitram­andira is well connected by Metro and BMTC buses. The Palike should consider these things and lease out the theatre immediately,” he said.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad told DH: “We will immediately act on the issue by floating tenders. We are ready to consult Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) to reopen the theatre.”

The KFCC has decided to take up the matter with the Palike. “The theatre is a symbol of prestige for the industry. I will meet the BBMP commissioner on Monday to find out a way to reopen it,”  Sa Ra Govindu, president, KFCC, said. The theatre was established in 1979 and was named Symphony. It mostly screened English movies.

As a mark of respect to one of the most creative directors and talented actors, the theatre was named after Shankarnag, who died in a road accident in 1991. The theatre began screening Kannada movies there after. The theatre was shut for four years between 2005 and 2009.
DH News Service

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