There was a time in Hyderabad when watching a Hollywood movie for less than Rs.100 was possible, thanks to the single screen theatres like Sangeet, Sterling, Liberty and others of the ilk. Going the Claudian way of ‘Change or die’ many of these single screen theatres have disappeared from the face of Hyderabad. Those that remain, no more screen English movies and if they do, then it is dubbed in Hindi or Telugu. “I feel lucky to have had option of watching English movies in single screen theatres during my graduation. I am a Hollywood buff and thanks to theatres like Sangeet, Kishore, Liberty and Kumar, I could adjust watching English movies in my constricted pocket money,” says Rahul.
Being light on the pocket is not the only reason that the Hyderabadi Hollywood audience of yesteryears remembers the single screen theatres. Srikanth, Senior Marketing Director in a private company says, “I remember one particular aspect of the single screen theatres. They used to play reruns of classics from the 50s and the 60s like ‘Ten Commandments’ and ‘Guns of Navarone’. It was a pleasure to watch these classics on big screen.” According to Sonal Joshi, an employee at Intel, going to watch English movies at a few theatres was a matter of pride too. She says, “Going to watch English movies at a few theatres was a festive occasion in itself. I would snobbishly tell people how good the movie was at Skyline or Sterling.”
Sandeep Udgirkar (25), says, “I don’t regret the non-existence of single screen theatres for watching English movies. It is true that the ticket prices were cheap but the experience is much better now as multiplexes have better audio systems in place and I can choose the show timing according to my comfort.” The Hollywood loving audience of Hyderabad’s bygone era, which had experienced the simplistic yet wonderful experience of watching English movies in the single screen theatres, will definitely remember the theatres with beautiful memories. Change is inevitable and as Srikant says, “One has to adapt to change.” It seems change is welcome as it comes with online ticket booking, ordering your intermission snack without getting up from seat and better audio-visual experience!