6 Cinemas in Delhi for Film Lovers

India is a country that worships cinema which is synonymous to Bollywood here (See also Bollywood in Mumbai). The single screen cinema halls were not just a place to watch movies but were the one of the best places for entertainment in those days. From the commercial, blockbusters to the experimental, international foreign films, Cinemas in Delhi called for a lot of fun and memories.

Today's cinema viewing concept has changed a lot. It is mostly dominated by the multiplex but for many, the single screen still exudes the essence of cinema way more than these hip-hop multiplexes do. With time, unfortunately, most of these single screens are disappearing - from not just Delhi, but almost all the metros of the country.

Did you know the first Indian feature film is Raja Harishchandra which was shot by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913?

History of Cinema Halls in Delhi

Since then, the other metro cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai became centers for film industry but Delhi was not as much as the others.

This is possibly because unlike the other cities, in pre-independence, there were two distinct parts in the city - the British dominated civil lines and the old city which was also called the Walled city of Shahjahanabad. Even though lots of studies took place, there is no perfect date that can tell the first film was screened here.

The formation of cinema halls in Delhi was almost related to the local politics. As the British shifted their capital from the then Calcutta to Delhi, the place soon started becoming one of the buzz centers for political activities. This is when the earliest cinema houses started in the capital and they were formed both in Connaught Place and Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi). They were opened as early as in 1920s. These houses were actually the assembly halls used in various social and political activities which were also used for screening movies. With time, they turned into permanent halls for cinema. Also, the silent movies were replaced by talking movies which were called 'talkies'.

The Odeon was the first fully air-conditioned cinema in Delhi.

The walled city in Delhi has now become a hub for commercial and electrical markets. It was, however, the hub of 'traditional' Delhi aristocrats. Some of the famous cinema halls there were Ritz Majestic, Delite, Jagat, Moti, Golcha and more. When it comes to finding the history of Cinemas in Delhi, it is not possible to keep aside the issues of social and class differentiation.

If you look back at the history of each of the cinema halls, you will see that these houses enjoyed furtherance from a certain section of the society. For instance, the Moti talkies and Jagat talkies, both of which were near Jama Masjid was a loved place for Hindu and Muslim gentry respectively. Once the Connaught Place was built in 1930, there were some new cinema halls built here. Among them, Regal was a very popular one.

Partition and Cinema Hall

In 1947, the partition took a huge toll in the cinema houses in Delhi. There was a huge influx of refugees from Peshawar and Lahore that created a new breed of cinema patrons. In Daryaganj, Delite Cinema was a famous house that screened mostly patriotic movies. The hall was constructed on the site where the 'old wall' once stood. Interestingly, a section of it was demolished to build the single screens. During the Indo-Pak war in 1971, the Delite Cinema was the cynosure of the local residents. It was the only hall that was still running and also gave the updates about the war during interval.

Cinema Halls Today

The Single Screen Cinemas in Delhi are almost heritage structures. Excelsior, Majestic Jubliee, Filmistan, Kumar, Moti, New Amar, Westend, Sheela are some of the Old Delhi’s cinema houses located mainly in the Sadar Bazar-Paharganj area who reached their glory in 1950s and 1970s. Unfortunately, even though you might see the edifices of some, most of them have shut down business. There were as many as 65 single screen Cinemas in Delhi till the 1960s.

There has been a rise of multi-screened theatres since 2000s. For some were newly built, other renovated the existing cinemas. The mushrooming of multi-screen cinemas in Delhi almost forced the single screen theatres to close their business. The reason is simple - these multiplexes have more shows in more frequency and have improved marketing strategies calling in for elite audiences.

Top Cinemas in Delhi

•  PVR Cinemas
Pacific Mall (Tagore Garden), New Delhi, Delhi

•  PVR Cinemas
2nd Floor, Select City Walk, A-3, Press Enclave Marg, District Center, Saket (Select City Walk Mall), New Delhi, Delhi Multiplex, Saket

•  M Cinemas
54 Community Centre, East Of Kailash (Formerly Sapna Cinema), New Delhi, Delhi Indie Movie Theater, South Delhi

•  Select Citywalk
A-3, District Centre, Saket (Saket), New Delhi, Delhi

•  DT Cinemas, City Centre
Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, Delhi

•  Pacific Mall
Subhash Nagar (New Delhi), New Delhi

Price

Depending on the movie, the ticket price can range anywhere from 200 INR to 500 INR. There are different slabs of tickets and the prices of the single screens are lesser than the multiplexes. You can get refreshments in the multiplexes as well as in the single screens. They are also charged higher than the single screens. Approximately, the cost for two people to cinemas in Delhi would cost around 1,000 INR.


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