The iconic Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru ends its glorious run

    Iconic Cauvery Theatre shuts diwn in Bangalore for multiplex

    Once a sought-after single screen in the city, the 50-year-old Cauvery Theatre, bogged down by the OTT wave and multiplexes, will make way for a commercial complex

    Cauvery theatre in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH K

    A little over three weeks after celebrating its golden jubilee, the iconic Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru has ended its glorious run. For old Bengalureans, who enjoyed the visceral movie-watching experience amidst a packed crowd, the huge single screen on Sankey Road, Palace Guttahalli, is a sepia-tinted memory now.

    Opening with the Dr. Rajkumar starrer Bangarada Panjara on January 11, 1974, Cauvery Theatre became a popular destination for movie lovers during the prime of single screens. Curtains fell on the theatre on April 20, with two Hindi movies, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, and Maidaanbeing the last two films screened there. Work has begun to build a commercial complex in its place.

    “I feel sad to close it down but the collections have come down drastically in the last five years,” said Cauvery Theatre’s owner Prakash Narasimhaiah. He was carrying forward the legacy of his father, Narasimhaiah, who had built the theatre 50 years ago. “The OTT wave has killed single screens. People’s movie-watching habits have changed, and they wait for films to come online. This has been the case since the pandemic,” he rued.

    Built on an area of around 1.5 acres, Cauvery was known for its huge parking space. With its unique circular design, Cauvery was the only theatre, apart from Abhinay (at BVK Iyengar Road) and Tribhuvan (closed in 2016) to have a mini balcony. “Cauvery had the biggest screen in Karnataka. We opened with 1,384 seats in 1974, almost close to the seating capacity of Kapali, which was one of Asia’s biggest single screens,” said Prakash. “We renovated in 1995, and the seats came down to 1110.”

    With upgraded settings and affordable prices of ₹100 (second class), ₹120 (mini balcony), and ₹150 (balcony), the theatre thrived in the multiplex age even as many other single screens gave up the fight sooner than expected. “For film lovers from Mount Carmel and MES College, Cauvery was the sought-after theatre for big Hindi releases,” said Harish Mallya, a film buff and consulting curator for the Bengaluru International Film Festival. Several big Hindi and Tamil movies of Rajinikanth and Vijay had long runs in the theatre. 

    “Cauvery had everything for a good single screen. It had a huge screen, good seats, and affordable prices. Watching Darshan’s Roberrt (2021)with a jam-packed crowdafter the pandemic-induced restrictions were lifted, will remain my favourite memory at Cauvery,” says Vijay Kalyana Raman, a film buff from the city. 

    “Dr Rajkumar’s Premada Kanike (1976) had a good run. The Telugu musical, Sankarabharanam (1980), and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge(1995) ran for more than 25 weeks at Cauvery,” said Prakash. “Kamal Haasan’s Indian (1996) ran for 100 days and Kantara completed a 50-day run here,” he added. After the likes of other iconic single screens such as Kapali, Pallavi, Sagar, Tribhuvan, and Everest, the show is over now at Cauvery.

    A view of Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru.

    A view of Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: File Photo

    A view of Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru.

    A view of Cauvery Theatre in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: File Photo

    Courtesy: TheHindu

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *