Forgotten Cinema : Fading magic of Single-Screens.
Imperial Cinema House
In the iconic neighborhood of Grant Road, lies a 'Cinema Street' housing an array of Bombay's original single screen cinemas from the Talkies era. Of the sixteen theaters, only four remain.
Imperial Cinema has survived, along with its rusty neighbours -Alfred, Roshan and Royal Talkies.
An Indo-Saracenic style facade stands at the entrance of The Imperial, Stone grey elephants adorning either side of the archway leading into this 112 year old establishment.
Entering this almost deserted expanse of heritage, one is lost in time. The broken chequered tiles, peeling rust coloured walls pasted with posters of Bhojpuri films, and abandoned corners piled with discarded film reels, exemplify the character of this cinema house - dated, historic, forgotten.
Once an orchestra theatre, the antiquated cinema hall spans across two storeys; the balcony and the stalls with tickets priced at Rs.40 and Rs.35. Old fashioned fans, faded red fabric seats, and rose colored walls carved with geometric patterns symbolize Art Deco cinemas of the time; glorious, large and enthralling.
The Imperial stands despondent yet resilient, characteristically representing the charisma of movie houses from the golden era, in the city of dreams.
Old with stories, weathered with time, yet standing tall; a relic in the light of yesterday's glory.
Words by Anushka Gupta @anushkagupta5
Photograph by Chirag Wakaskar @chiragwakaskar