Mangaluru, Sep 18, 2017: The historic New Chitra Talkies is finally calling it a day. Nearly five decades ago, it was the place all Mangaloreans went to unwind and catch the latest movies. Indeed, it was THE place to be seen at. But bowing to market pressures, the current owners , K Devadas Pai and Shankar Pai have decided to shut its doors once and for all.
(File Photo: During the movie ’Titanic’)
For the locals, this will indeed be a very sad move. It was one of the first theatres in the city to use the latest sound systems available in the 20s and 30s. It was also one of the first theatres to deviate from the norm and play English movies.
Old timers remember being thrilled by ‘Guns of Navarone’ starring the dashing Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Gia Scala and a host of Hollywood stars.
‘Where Eagles Dare’, Mackenna’s Gold , the Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine’s madcap comedy ‘Irma La Douce’, James Bond movies , the comedy capers of Charlie Chaplin, a whole host of spaghetti westerns like ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ drew huge crowds to the theatre.
The theatre became so popular that the area around it also came to be known as ‘New Chitra’. It was the brainchild of Kochikar Vittaldas Pai of Brahmavar. This enterprising businessman had set up a few movie theatres before ‘New Chitra’ . But this gem was the most popular due to the English movies played. From time to time, it did screen Hindi , Kannada, Telugu and Tamil movies but the Westerns always won.
Locals also recall a time when this 500 seater hall was transformed into a marriage hall, a theatre for plays (with Dr. Rajkumar in the lead) and an auditorium for live music programmes. Giants of the classical music scene like Pt. Bhimsen Joshi have performed at this theatre.
The 70s were all about Hippie fashions- big hair, bell-bottom slacks, bold prints and western influences. For the cosmopolitan city of Mangalore, New Chitra Talkies was and will always be the Grande Dame!