Curtains close on Chandigarh's Kiran Cinema
End of an Era: Kiran Cinema in Chandigarh ceases movie screenings
The historic Kiran Cinema, located in Chandigarh's Sector 22, has decided to cease movie screenings, adding to the list of fading single-screen theatres in the region. These single-screen cinemas were once a prominent attraction in the city, drawing enthusiastic moviegoers. However, the advent of multiplexes led to their gradual decline.
Closure and heritage concerns
The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee (CHCC) allowed the theatre's owner to construct two commercial floors while preserving the outer facade of the building. Nevertheless, the committee had previously rejected a proposal to convert the theatre into a multiplex, citing the heritage status of Sector-22 and the historical significance of the theatre, designed by Maxwell Fry in 1956, an associate of Le Corbusier.
In response to the committee's decision, the theatre's owners submitted a proposal to engage in commercial activities and cease movie screenings, which had already been halted since 2019.
Legacy of Kiran Cinema
Kiran Cinema, with a seating capacity of 200, situated in the city's oldest sector, was renowned for exclusively showing popular Hollywood hits from 1996 to 2005. It screened iconic films such as Titanic, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and James Bond movies, setting it apart as a unique movie destination.
It was also an early adopter of screening live telecasts, featuring the 2002 Football World Cup, a pioneering move in Chandigarh's entertainment scene.
Apart from Neelam Theatre in Sector 17, other single-screen theatres in Chandigarh have already closed their doors. These include KC Theatre, Anand Cinema, and Jagat Theatre, which shut down for various reasons over the years, such as violations and battles with authorities over conversions and building bylaws.
The last remaining single-screen theatre, Neelam Theatre, is also struggling to stay afloat, often canceling shows due to low attendance. Experts suggest that the UT administration should adopt pragmatic policies and repurpose these buildings while preserving their character, considering factors beyond just floor area ratio (FAR) to revitalize the city's cultural spaces.