Mangaluru, Jan 12, 2017: If reports are to be believed it is a final Goodbye to the famous Platinum cinema. The iconic theater at Falnir in the city centre that treated film buffs to some of the finest movies shut operations on December 31. The Tamil Vishal-starrer ’Katthi Sandai’ was the last film to be screened at the theater.
"It was a herculean task to run a single-screen theater amid competition from three multiplexes. And the rising cost of operations put paid to my hopes," said Ashok Kumar, the film exhibitor who ran the theater on contract for the last 11 years.
He runs single-screen theaters in Surathkal and Sullia on contract.
Platinum was one of the air-conditioned theaters in Mangaluru, apart from Central Talkies, which ran Rajkumar films to packed houses. In the last decade, it prominently featured Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil movies. It had several 25-week runs to its credit. Constructed in 1976, the theatre had an attractive facade and interiors - a novelty then.
Kumar said about Rs 1 lakh was needed a month to run the theatre. Of that, Rs 35,000 was to pay power bills. "Until a few years ago and in spite of the presence of multiplexes, the occupancy rate in our theatre was good. In the last couple of years, salaries and maintenance costs have risen so much that the tepid runs of movies did not help me," Kumar said.
Industry sources said multiplexes could secure movies without any advance, but single-screen theatres must keep aside a minimum guarantee amount. "In the recent past, I’ve hardly realized the deposit on several movies. Movies like Rajinikanth-starrer Sivaji are an exception, though," he said.
Theatre owner Prabhakar Poonja said: "We don’t have any immediate plans about the theatre." Sumeeth Kamath, owner of Central Talkies, the first single-screen theatre in the city to have an AC hall from 1975 to 1985, says: "All single-screen theaters are sailing in the same boat. We are somehow surviving."