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A Theater is the combined form of art to perform the real life of others or it may be a fantasy to entertain others in the form of visual with audio. It’s the activity of producing movie, directing, writing scripts etc. Once upon a time, Madurai is the great destination of drama, it leads to the evolution of cinema today. But, nowadays the interest in watching movies through the theaters are decreasing day by day. The famous theaters in Madurai are closing because of this reason.

Let’s see the disappearing cinema halls in Madurai City and the reason behind it.

In the 80’s, watching cinema was a ritual in Madurai.  Friday was the poster-gazing day where people will be standing outside the theaters to see the next week’s posters. Gone are the days  with the advent of many changing technologies and trends. Classical theaters with grand staircase leading to a hall of wooden seats that is non air conditioned  has started to mark its place in the history.

A recent study says that there were 52 theaters all around Madurai city before ten years. And for now, just 24 are functioning and the remaining have fallen into ruin.

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Today, the latest 3D theaters with digital sound systems and air-conditioned multiplexes lure most of the audiences. Also, nowadays people wish to reserve the movie tickets online without having to stand in the long queue for getting the tickets. People have become more choosy nowadays, and started to expect more comforts and facilities provided at the cinema halls.

Thus, theaters that doesn’t have the enough capacity to run successfully surrender their places to any big firms. These big-bees renovate the theater and deliver it their audiences according to the latest trends and technologies. The list of such theaters that have disappeared in Madurai city.

Theaters that have disappeared so far:

  • Once the pride of Madurai, “Thangam Theater”, in West Perumal Maistry Street was the Asia’s first biggest theater. It has served as a major landmark for the whole Madurai City. The theater could seat around 2,563 persons at a single time and spreads over more than 52,000 square feet. This was the first theater which gave the viewers a unique visual experience with this technically built superior infrastructure. It was built in 1952,  by Pichai Muthu a key Figure in Cinema Industry.

Films like Parashakthi(1952), and Nadodi Mannan(1958) were the biggest blockbusters of the Theater. It is said that Thangam theater drawn many people from distant place in Madurai and nearby areas.

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This theater was shut down in 1990 since it could not sustain successfully and remained closed for almost two decades. There is a rumor that it is being converted into flat system by a Chennai based Business man.

  • A popular theatre named “Chinthamani Talkies” in East Veli Street was named after the Blockbuster movie Chinthamani. This theater was very popular during the olden days and many stars have visited the theater to gauge the audience response for their movies. This fabulous oldest theater has now turned into a go down for the textile businesses.
  • Dinamani Theater which was known for running classical movies for longer period have shut down completely. News says that it has been handed over to a famous big-bee who is planning to open a shopping complex quite soon. This theater was near Munichalai and it served as the important landmark in that area.
  • Another theater which is nearby Dinamani is “Nadanaa Theater” which is also recently demolished for building flats and apartment system in that area. Once the Nadanaa theater was owned by the famous tamil cinema actor Ramarajan and sold by him few years back.

Thangam Theater

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Chinthamani Theater

famous dinamani theater in madurai_classiblogger_image

Why to shut down?

Why these olden classical buildings are being shut down? The reasons are below:

  • Firstly, audience have started preferring online ticket booking which does not require a person to wait a long time in a queue for getting tickets. Even those who does not have internet in their homes have started to book their tickets using a third party broker.
  • Push back comfortable seats with full Air conditioned hall may attract more audiences to the theater.
  • Decent and tidy atmosphere is very important thing nowadays. Those people who spend their money for watching movies like to watch in a very decent and clean atmosphere. The multiplexes with above facilities are keen in taking care that their theaters are clean and tidy at any time possible.
  • Nowadays, most of the theaters who have adapted above tricks have started to again attract the audiences even though they are with single screens.

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How to save the Olden Theaters:

  • Despite of the above said points, Government also should make concession for those olden days theaters to help them sustain in the competition against the Multiplexes. The Government can:
  • It can provide different tax slabs and concession in the electricity tariffs for the single screen theaters when compared to the Multiplexes that have more screens.
  • The Government can even come forward with renovation loans for these Olden theaters to re-built or renovate to cater today’s competition.
  • After renovating, It can help the theaters to advertise about their cinema halls.

Above all, the Olden Theaters can also follow few tricks like running one or more movies in one single theater so that each show has some different movie, keep theater clean, invest atleast to renovate the screen and seats in the theater.

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List of Theaters in Madurai:

S.No. Theatre Name A/C Theatre Location
1. Abirami Near Sourashtra School, Kamarajar Salai (Tel: 2627222, 9600351112)
2. Ambigai Near Sourashtra School, Kamarajar Salai (Tel: 2627222, 9600351112)
3. Ambika Screen-I Anna Nagar Bus Terminal
4. Ambika Screen-II Anna Nagar Bus Terminal
5. Amirtham Behind Sappani Kovil Bus Stop, South Veli Street
6. Big Cinemas Arsh Near Apollo Hospital, K.K.Nagar (Tel: 3983961)
7. Big Cinemas Jazz Near Apollo Hospital, K.K.Nagar (Tel: 3983962)
8. Central Near Meenakshi Amman Temple
9. Ganesh Screen-1 Melur
10. Ganesh Screen-2 Melur
11. Inox Screen-1 Vishaal D Mall, Chinna Chokkikulam (Tel: 2581888, 2582888)
12. Inox Screen-2 Vishaal D Mall, Chinna Chokkikulam (Tel: 2581888, 2582888)
13. Inox Screen-3 Vishaal D Mall, Chinna Chokkikulam (Tel: 2581888, 2582888)
14. Inox Screen-4 Vishaal D Mall, Chinna Chokkikulam (Tel: 2581888, 2582888)
15. Kallaanai Vandiyur
16. Mani Impala Magic Thirunagar (Tel: 4367684, 9150889292, 9894434898)
17. Mani Impala Majestic Thirunagar (Tel: 4367684, 9150889292, 9894434898)
18. Mani Impala Melody Thirunagar (Tel: 4367684, 9150889292, 9894434898)
19. Sha-I Near Anna Bus Stand
20. Sha-II Near Anna Bus Stand
21. Sugapriya Anna Bus Stand (Tel: 2535132)
22. Tamil Reserve Line (Tel: 2539254)
23. Tamil Jaya Reserve Line (Tel: 2539254)

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Nirmal Anandh M
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