In the era of multiplexes, few things have stayed true to the past. And although change is a necessity of time, the ‘old charm’ has worn off from parts of Pune. The Internet and multiplexes have somewhat lessened the entire affair of watching a movie. Earlier, it was an experience- sitting in those old chairs instead of recliners and watching a movie- reminds me of simpler times.
Away from these grand movie theatres, Pune still has a list of theatres which can offer you the good old, charming days. These are the seven theatres you must check out if you’re tired of the fancy movie affair!
Located on Shashtri Road, Alka Talkies is one of the oldest theatres in Pune. Established in 1949, this theatre still upholds the golden ‘single-screen’ experience. Much of my childhood was spent here, watching movies which changed and shaped my life (Lion King is a prominent example). This theatre has seen it all, the crazy sixties and seventies, and the booming rise of Bollywood.
This old theatre in Camp has a lot of legends attached to it, including haunted stories. A building which once housed British entertainment has been transformed into a theatre after their departure. One of the few remaining theatres in the city to still have the ‘balcony’ experience, a must-visit for cine-buffs.
Another single screen theatre located on Connaught Road (Station Road), Alankar Theatre continues to run four shows daily. Despite undergoing renovations, it still conjures that old charm back quite easily. It has also seen several old celebrities coming there for film premieres, but now sadly just experiences college crowd who need a cheaper movie ticket alternative.
Another favorite of mine, I still remember watching shady movies during my college days here (SP college, so had to be that way). The people here still curse and shout and dance at every item song, and despite being more than 40 years old, very little has changed. A place definitely deserving of a mention in this list.
Laxmi Narayan Theatre
Another one of city’s oldest and grandest movie theatres, Laxmi Narayan used to be Pune’s pride. Although the place is quite old now, the management has made an effort to spruce up the cinema hall with new seats and technologies, while the structure itself has been renovated multiple times. Laxmi Narayan is situated close to Swargate.
Prabhat Talkies / Kibe Laxmi Theatre
Located in the by-lanes of Narayan Peth, the name Laxmi Cinema might sound unfamiliar, and that’s because we know it by a different, popular name – Prabhat Talkies. After the Prabhat Film Company took over the once newspaper office and transformed it into a theatre, much has changed. This theatre has seen it all; the grandfather of all the movie theatres in the city. If you’re interested, here’s some history on this place!
Another old gem in Pune, Vasant Cinema is located in Budhwar Peth. Established in the 90s, this theatre has seen Bal Gandharva and several other noteworthy figures perform here. It used to be famous as a drama theatre before, but these days, all the latest Marathi and Bollywood movies are screened here.
Feature image by Animekh Misra