The shutters of the iconic Chandan Cinema which has been a haunt for so many of the Bollywood celebrities living in the neighbourhood ranging from Amitabh Bachchan to Tiger Shroff ever since it opened up in 1974, have shut down this past week. The owners of the single screen theatre have done this with the view of renovating the single screen to a multiplex.

The cinema hall opened in  1974 with Raj Kapoor’s Bobby. Back then the seats were wooden and the sound of fans creaking would fill the auditorium along with the sound of the film, ofcourse. In those years, it was also one of the few suburban theaters to screen Hollywood films. But above all, watching these big masala films at Chandan had become a ritual for many.

A lot of filmmakers and distributors would gauge a film’s success by the reaction it has gotten from a single screen cinema, especially Chandan; even to this date, upto the point where it had to shut down for renovation.

Chandan had its time to shine a lot as well. The theater had become so popular that so many film makers would make Chandan their venue to promote their film. So many times, they would even have press screenings at Chandan. Anurag Kashyap hosted the premiere of his film DEV D at Chandan in 2009. In 2010, MAMI was kicked off with the screening of David Fincher’s Social Network.

Chandan Cinema has taught me all about the movies. It was a stone throw away from my house and every Sunday it was a ritual for my family and I to go to the movies at Chandan, if we had not already seen the movie at a trail show. The easy access, as in the locality, and my father knowing the management helped a lot. When I got a little older, I would still make sure I would go to Chandan, every opportunity I could get. But since the advent of the multiplexes, I consumed most of my movies via them. But my brother and I made a patch and we decided to watch every big masala movie at Chandan, in first day second show. From Dabangg (2010) till Race 3 last year, we have not missed a single Salman Khan starrer at the Chandan till date. Many other commercial movies were watched at Chandan in the middle as well but Salman release at Chandan became a norm, because let’s face it, the experience of watching Salman Khan films at Chandan is on another level.

While the much beloved Chandan Cinema is going under a makeover and being transformed into a multiplex, it will always be remembered in all its glory, being like a second home to so many of its patrons, inspiring the new generation of filmmakers and a lot more. I truly hope, while it is being renovated, it doesn’t lose all its charm and the thing that made CHANDAN, CHANDAN.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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