‘You call this a theatre?’ was my reaction the first time I went to The Plaza Theatre to watch The Mummy Returns. I walked up the wooden stairs, covered with old carpet and reached the balcony, which was on the second floor.
The screen looked far away and when I sat down, I had the feeling that I would plummet downward any second, like being on a downward cycle of a roller coaster ride. The seats were old, the place looked older, and worse still, the movie wasn’t as good as the original.
I went back though, mainly because it was the one theatre in Bangalore that played a lot of English movies. It was part of the English theatre triangle–Rex (Brigade road), Symphony (MG road), and Plaza (MG road).
And, you couldn’t beat the ticket prices. Sixty bucks for a balcony seat, forty for regular, and even less for the front stalls. One of the ticketing counters, was manned by a guy who looked like he’d seen about fifty thousand movies. The ticket guys were always courteous, not something that you find at all theatres.
There was no air conditioning and if there was, I couldn’t tell. You had ceiling fans and that made it bearable, except if the theatre was crowded. I remember sweating while watching A Beautiful Mind and it wasn’t because of Jennifer Connelly.
The best part was that you could walk out of the theatre during the break and be on MG road in seconds. Now, the theatre’s shut down (this happened almost a year ago) and is being torn down for more shops or whatever. I did catch the last movie that played there (Meet The Fokkers), so that was nice.
This is Bangalore’s loss, because single theatres have a character of their own. At least Plaza did. They don’t make theatres like they used to anymore.