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Another one bites the dust: Mumbai’s Chitra single-screen cinema shuts down

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The theatre, located centrally near Dadar station, has been in existence for seven decades.

Our Correspondent

One of central Mumbai’s oldest single-screen theatres, Chitra, is shutting down today. The news is sure to sadden film lovers in the city, especially those who have grown up or lived in and around the locality of Dadar.

A number of single-screen theatres have shut down in the city over the years owing to reasons of viability and Chitra is simply the latest entrant in the unfortunate list.

The Karan Johar-produced Student Of The Year 2, which was released last week, is thus the last film to be screened at Chitra. This brings to an end the seven-decade run of this iconic cinema hall.

The theatre is currently owned by Dara Mehta. Speaking about the reasons for shutting down the theatre, he told the local Mid-Day newspaper, “Single screens are hardly doing any business today. While weekends witness good footfalls, we hardly have any patrons on weekdays. We haven't yet decided whether it will be given for redevelopment or let out to a multiplex chain."

Along with piracy, Mehta believes the growing number of OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar have also become a threat for the survival of cinemas.

“We have always kept up with technology," Mehta said. "We renovated the theatre around 20 years ago, and again in 2014. But today, the online streaming platforms have affected our business. Earlier, movies were the only source of entertainment. Now, people have countless options on OTT platforms.”

Dara Mehta had taken over the running of the theatre in 1982 from his father PD Mehta. Over the decades, a number of Hindi blockbusters have had golden and silver jubilee runs at the theatre, from the 1970s till the early 2000s. Films stopped completing 25 or 50 weeks in theatres around the turn of the millennium. Chitra was also a popular destination for Marathi movies.

Only in March this year, another iconic single screen, Chandan Talkies at Juhu, was shut down for the same reason. 

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