Changes between Version 20 and Version 21 of Plaza (Bangalore)

Jan 7, 2013, 7:52:15 PM (12 years ago)
Lawrence Liang



  • Plaza (Bangalore)

    v20 v21  
     76||= Interview with A K Ananth Narrain =|| Owner, Plaza Theatre || 
     77||||  (I studied at the Bishop Cottons school and the first film that I saw in Plaza was The Three Musketeers (with Lana Turner)  which I had been taken to by some of the elders. I subsequently saw the film seventeen to eighteen times.  At the age of ten I used to drive the lorry that my father had  bought to show films and it was subsequently used to advertise films that were being shown in Plaza. I passed out of college in 1958 and on the last day of college I took my entire class to watch a film in Plaza (a tradition that was continued by my children and all my nephews and nieces as well) and we saw Devil’s Island, a Bogart film. In 1964 all of us (the sons) were made a part of the partnership and I started getting actively involved with the running of the theatre. At that point (1964) I had become a teacher teaching English and mathematics at the RBANMS school. Around this time I also took more of an interest in the business and moved into a small room behind the screen and started living there. There used to be a lots of  Rats in the theatre which would come out after everyone had left after the last show and it was a bit of a hazard living in the theatre. In the sixties the audience for films had changed with a lot of younger people watching films  and the movies that were popular were the more action oriented film of the time ( Atari, Guns of Naverone, Psycho and then the Bond films) . Suchitra Film Society organized a film festival in Plaza for which the Maharajah had a special seat and there was also a separate section for women in Purdah (which created a lot of problems in the walkway). One of the most popular films of Plaza was the 10 commandments which ran for 44 weeks  though the record was held by Enter the Dragon in Galaxy which ran for 52 weeks . If a film ran for four weeks then it was considered a hit. Another film that was very popular was Grease 2. There was one particular chap who came to see it every day and when one particular song played, he would start dancing in the aisles. One day he came to me with 49 stubs of tickets and said that he had seen the film 49 times and he demanded a free ticket for  his fiftieth show. While I thought that it is because of fools like you that we make money, I gave him a free ticket to watch the film. In the emergency years we all were mandated to play the national anthem before the screening of each film and all the theatre  owners of Bangalore were called in for a meeting with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and told that theatres were in charge of inculcating respect for the nation. At that time all the theatre owners were also showing losses except for Plaza. I got married in 1972 and at that point of time there was a crisis since there was a ban on the importing of films and there were no new films that were available and we had to survive on reruns and playing old films. So when I went to invite people from the film fraternity for the wedding and announced that I had some good news, they immediately enquired whether the ban on importing of films had been lifted. The situation was so bad that Rex started showing Malayalam films. There was also a lot of censorship and Indira Gandhi who had seen a film with the Can Can announced that thee should be no vulgar display of  a woman’s body)  ||