Sunday, June 28, 2015

Permanent Cinema Theatre in India was first built in Madras 1911: History

1897: In 1897, M. Edwards first screened a selection of silent short films at the Victoria Public Hall in Madras. The films all featured non-fictional subjects; they were mostly photographed records of day-to-day events.

1909: Swamikannu Vincent, a railway draftsman from Tiruchirapalli, became a travelling exhibitor in 1905.  near the present Parry's Corner, using carbide jet-burners for projection
It was Swamikannu Vincent who made humble beginning with his 'Tent Kottai' helped to introduce theatre culture in Tiruchi as well as in South India. Vincent must also be credited for setting up Edison's Bioscope in Esplanade (near the present Parry's Corner), and laid the foundation of the movie business in the South as a supplier of film projectors. He bought the film projector and silent films from the Frenchman Du Pont and screened silent films using carbide jet-burners for projection and set up a business as film exhibitor.
The Broadway Bioscope, 16 Popham's Broadway, George Town, (The Hindu)
The Broadway Bioscope Interiors (The Hindu)
1911: It is well established now that a woman by the name of Mrs. Klug, was the first to establish a ‘permanent' cinema theatre on the first floor of No. 16, Popham's Broadway in George Town (just south of Loane Square and opposite Harrison and Co.) in  April 1911 in Madras. However it was  not a purpose-built theatre for film shows, but was an already existing space modified and redecorated for use as a theatre. This was known as “The Broadway Bioscope” or simply “The Bioscope.”  Mrs Klugg’s Bioscope in Broadway, lasted only for just six months.
Major Warwick Electric theatre screened movies in 1913

1913: For many years it was widely reported that the first permanent cinema theatre in India was the 'Major Warwick Electric theatre' started in Madras by Major Warwick during 1900.  However the theatre began screening films only in 1913. It was a purpose-built cinema theatre in Madras and had a highly successful run over 21 months. The very same building survives still today as the Philatelic Bureau of the Mount Road Post Office.

1913:  In 1913 the Lyric theatre (calling itself as Empire Cinema) began screening films at the first floor of the building named Misquith & Co (A hall known for entertainment at the junction of Ellis Road and Wallajah Road. (Wallace) since 1842).  A fire accident in March 1914 made them to close it down. Later that year, J F Madan of Calcutta, owner of India’s biggest cinema chain at the time, took over the Empire and renamed it with that of his flagship, the Elphinstone. The Elphinstone theatre with balcony for the first time commenced screening films from 1916.

Raghupati Venkaiah Naidu
First Permanent Theatre Built by an Indian (Raghupati Venkiah Naidu)
1914: In 1910, Raghupati Venkaiah Naidu of Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, known widely as the father of Telugu cinema and  a pioneer in the production of silent Indian films and talkies, established Tent Cinema House at Esplanade i.e, near the Madras High Court to exhibit his films. He also screened the short films in the Victoria Public Hall.
In 1912, he constructed Gaiety Talkies on Mount Road, the first Indian-owned cinema theatre in Chennai. Gaiety Talkies commenced screening films in 1914. He later constructed Crown Theatre on Mint Street and Globe Theatre in Purasawakkam (later called Roxy), Chennai. He also exhibited American and British films.

The Elphinstone re-opened in 1916, Wellington in 1917, Paragon 1934, Globe (near LIC building) in 1938, Casino in 1941, Chitra in 1948

Shanthi Theatre, First Airconditioned Theatre of Chennai, was inaugurated on 12.01.1961 by Shri K. Kamaraj, then Chief Minister of Madras State.

Sapphire, Blue Diamond and Emerald - the first of its kind multiplex in India — drew a large crowd.
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