The 70-year-old Rex Cinemas is to be torn down after December 31. (File)
For over 70 years, Rex Cinema hall has stood on the busy Brigade Road in the bustling central business district of Bengaluru. But next year, the iconic theatre will be gone – replaced by one more modern building – a mall and multiplex with four screens.
If one is to assume the cinema hall is going down because of its financial viability, that isn’t it. The answer by the Joint Managing Director of the hall was simple — Rex has lived its time.
Speaking to NDTV, the Joint Managing Director of Rex Cinemas said, “One can’t say it’s going down. The recent release, Rajnikanth’s film, saw highest collection in the first four days and we have broken all records and I think we are shutting down Rex at its high. We have not gone down at all. But then the question would be why we would want to close it considering it is one of the best running single screens in Karnataka, not just in Bengaluru. To this, the answer is – there’s a time for everything. The cinema has become old. It has lived its time.”
The hall has seen film screenings since the 1940s, even before the Bengaluru landmark got its current name.
But this isn’t the first time that a single screen in Bengaluru has been torn down or revamped. While iconic cinema halls like the Plaza Theatre and the Galaxy Theatre were demolished to pave way for newer buildings, cinema halls like Symphony, Lido were turned into multiplexes. Rex Cinemas could have just been among the last ones standing.
The hardest adjustment will be those of long time employees. Film operator, BK Nagaraj, an employee at Rex for 22 years, said, “I had many good memories in these 22 years. Owner of this theatre is also very kind. The building is very old and that is why they have decided to demolish the theatre and build a mall in its place.”
M Subramaniam, another employee who has worked at the cinema hall for even longer said, “I have been working here for 47 years. At this age, it is this difficult to find another job. I am 67 years old and there is no strength left in my body,” he said.
The first film to be screened at the Brigade Road’s then newly renovated and renamed Rex Theatre dates back to 1962 when Sleeping Beauty hit the screens.
Today, Bengalureans who were there to watch Rajnikant’s latest film, 2.0, which might just be the last film to be screened at the hall, cannot help but reminisce.
Chitra Madhavan, present at the hall said, “I think we have been watching films here for the last 25-30 years. When we heard about it we felt very bad because it is one the older theatres and it is not a multiplex. We have seen the staff through the years.”
Another viewer Ramprasad said, “I have been coming here for over 20 years. I would love to watch at least 4 movies before the December 31st demolishing,” he said.