“Mumbai’s Old theatres started as single cinema talkies in 1920’s, Ruling almost 7 decades now featuring Oldest Bollywood and other regional movies of India. Below listed oldest movie theatres of Mumbai (Then ‘Bombay’), Now shows some rare old Bollywood classics & retro movies, semi adult and Bhojpuri movies at cheap ticket rates, Lets know which are those oldest cinema theatres, the memories of city..”
The era when Rajesh Khanna, Jitendra like actors rocked and Amitabh Bachchan Zanzeer released in cinema theatres of south Mumbai locations like Grant Road, Opera House and Mumbai Central was to be seen, These old theatres then had ticket costing Rs.1 and Rs 2.50. The then called Talkies use to be jammed packed with people watching 2 to 3 shows continuously of movie goes hit, That golden era of Indian cinema turned from Black and white to Colour and so the old theatres were dilapidated and the new trend of multiplex arise in starting years of 2000 when chains like Big Cinema, Cinemax, Fame and Broadway are leading the talkies industries.
So what about those old theatres now, Are they closed ? and the answer is no the show still goes on, But now its nothing latest of those movies so more, rarely one can find new movies released and be screened in the list of old talkies of Mumbai as listed below. Almost all of these cinema house features Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu films, some times those old Bollywood hits too and some and most of them also show semi-adult movies that attracts the labour class, beggars at cost of Rs.25 and somewhere around. That is the entertainment in those talkies now a days for survival. Below are list of such theatres in South Mumbai locations like Grant Road, Mumbai Central and Opera House.
List Of Old Cinema Halls/Talkies
Maratha Mandir at Mumbai Central : DDLJ ( Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge ) movie is the first thing that comes in and when we get the name of this one of the very old theatres located at Mumbai Central East. And who will forget that royal entrance of legendary actor Dilip Kumar riding on Horse and theatre location filled with Elephants on premier day of the royal film ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ which kept running for next 6 years since 1960, Wow. Till date the ticket cost at Maratha Mandir is like Rs.25, Rs.35 and below Rs.100.
The very first movie to get premièred here was Sunil Dutt’s Sadhna. This theater is old yet cannot be said outdated as DDLJ is still featured in Rs.25 and weekends are filled now also. See Current movies at Maratha Mandir.
Royal Talkies, Grant Road : Before it started screening Bollywood movies in 1930’s, Since it started in 1911, Royal theatre was known to show small documentaries shot and stage plays during Old Mumbai days. With seating capacity of 600 people, hardly any heads are seen now. Located at Royal Cinematography, M Saukatali Road, Mumbai Central, this is one of those beautiful memories of old talkies still in shape to be watched when along the way.
Edward Theatre, Dhobi Talao : Historically this old theatre was named after Kind Edward since 1914. Edward is best known for Mythological classic of all time called ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ that released in 1974, now this is funny to hear but in those days it really happened outside this old theatre, Women from around area got so into the role played and spiritual Maa Santoshi of that movie that they came in well traditional dress with diya and thalis in front of screen (was allowed that time) to pray goddess inside theatre. See Edward Show Timings and Current Movies.
One can see the old hand written board that displays ticket and other rates like Orchestra Rs.28, Dress Circle Rs.24 and First Class Rs.18, and that is how the seating was named in old talkies. Hardly any new film or crowd seen, except some special film on display like in September 2012 it was Jean-Luc Godard film. Hardly 40 to 70 people at a time when any old movie is shown here now seating on those wooden seats on 3 layer theatre here. As the owner say’s its like surviving without profits, almost 30 of the employees gets paid after all expenses done and it is how Edward cinema runs now.
New Roshan talkies, Grant Road : Exactly opposite Delhi Darbar at 195/197, Patthe Bapu Rao Marg is this old memory of Mumbai cinema called New Roshan Talkies, Started in 1930 with ticket rates till date at Rs.15 and Rs.20 attracting poor to watch the rerun movies since it started by a Parsi family in Mumbai, now with Mr Iqbal who takes care of theatre with some of other changes like chairs and furniture with time and little profit. One of the very old theatres in Mumbai.
Capitol Cinema, CST : Exactly opposite our Monument CST station is this old small white looking theatre called ‘Capitol’ since 1879, Once the Gothic movie play house of residents around fort area which played some British dramas is now the B Grade Hindi movie show theatre. The very first show at Capitol cinema was attended by Governor and his wife, which features a premier of ‘The Flag Lieutenant’ which was a British film.
Nishat Cinema, Grant Road : Located at Sukhlaji Marg, Kamathipura, The famous Red light Area of Mumbai, Nishat cinema was once a play house started on 15th August 1952. This theatres is owned by Neeta Palhaj Nihalani, wife of Director pehlaj nehalani which now runs only Bhojpuri films after the play house was replaced with this old theatre. Ticket cost are still Rs.15 and Rs.20 for all shows in this talkies.
Imperial Cinema Hall, Grant Road : Located at 360 Near Police Station, Lamington Road, Girgaum, Mumbai, Imperial is a special Bhojpuri cinema hall with good business collections in Night shows. Way back in 1905 when Imperial started, it was hosting famous orchestra’s in this theatre. Those white round pillars with that old Orchestra style semi circled board with name ‘Imperial’ is some thing you will like to see once. Now if you want to try any Bhojpuri film at cost of Rs.30 and Rs.35 this is one of the special theatres for same. See Imperial Show Timings and Movies Running.
Gulshan Theatre, Opera House : Located at Play House 215, Opera House, Exactly opposite Delhi Darbar this is one of the oldest and cheapest cinema halls of Mumbai still running at ticket rates of Rs.9 and Rs.10. Good to be once as trial as the cinema halls is also been renovated some 10 years before, Let me say now that is a good cheap time pass location in Mumbai to enjoy movies from 1980’s and 1990’s, at least in that hot summer day, feels like doing something funny and new in city.
Alfred Cinema Hall, Grant Road : Another in the list of Old theatres of Mumbai, Located at Plot Number. 174/180 Patthe Bapurao Marg, Grant Road East, Mumbai. Alfred is one of those oldest talkies started in 1880 with name ‘Rippon’ then renamed to ‘Alfred’ in 1932 (i.e still before Independence), with ticket pricing as low as Rs.18 and Rs.20, people now visit this old beautifully European architectural cinema hall of Mumbai to see soft porn movies and action movies.
Note : Photos used here are random from Internet for reference only, and are appropriate copyrights of owners and are not by us.