In the past few years, not only KC Theatre, but others including Jagat Theatre in Sector 17 and Nirman Theatre in Sector 32 have been shut down. Batra Theatre in Sector 37, Neelam Theatre in Sector 17 and Kiran Theatre in Sector 22 that are still operational are struggling for survival.
The theatres that witnessed heavy rush now have to be content with moviegoers reaching double digits. While the multiplexes affected their business, plans of the single-screen theatre owners to upgrade have not received approval from the administration.
Ashok Kumar, owner of the KC Theatre, says, “I demolished my own building in 2005 after the policy of multiplexes came to the city. It has been 10 years now and I have not been allowed to even move an inch on my own land. I had proposed a mall on my site, for which the administration made me run for four years continuously and then I finally got approval.”
“As proposed, I have retained the dome shape. It will be a glass building and solar plants will be installed so that we need not buy electricity from the administration. The only obstacle now is the budget. I need around Rs 150 crore to build a mall,” he adds.
Kumar is not the only one. Owners of other theatres have also been approaching the administration for the past several years to find a solution to their predicament.
“For the last 15 years we have been knocking at the doors of the UT Administration, requesting them to convert these single-screen theatres into something which would give them revenue but not even a single step has been taken. We had given representations when the Master Plan was being prepared. But there has been no response to date. It is like banging our heads against the wall. We have lost all hopes,” says Naresh Batra, owner of the Batra Theatre and president of the Film Exhibitors’ Association.