Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shanti theatre goes the multiplex way too

The gentle strains of ‘En Mannava’ from the Rajinikanth-starrer Lingaa fill the lobby of Shanti theatre on Anna Salai.
The film may probably be last to be screened at the iconic theatre, which holds a special place in the hearts of fans of nadigar thilagam Sivaji Ganesan. Now, a commercial complex will come up in its place.
The 53-year-old theatre will be brought down soon, and the new complex will include a multiplex with smaller screens. Sources close to the Sivaji Ganesan family, which owns the theatre, confirmed the developments.
Work on demolishing the building housing the popular Hotel Saravana Bhavan on the complex has already begun. “All the tenants have left and the main complex is likely to be brought down after the run of Lingaa,” sources said.
The theatre is synonymous with films associated with Sivaji Ganesan, his son Prabhu and grandson Vikram Prabhu. It even has a plaque with all of Sivaji Ganesan’s films and references to his other on-screen achievements. ‘Karnan’, in which Sivaji played the title role, was re-released in digital format six months ago and enjoyed a successful 50-day run, a pointer to the late thespian’s popularity among the Tamil film audience.
“The easy availability of pirated versions of even new films has hit the film industry very hard. A large part of the erstwhile fan base has become more interested in television now. Thus, maintaining large theatres has become very difficult,” a theatre staff said.
Sources in the building industry say that unlike many other office and commercial complexes on the northern end of Anna Salai that face a severe shortage of space for vehicle parking, Shanti Theatre has always had abundant parking space.

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