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Three iconic single screens in Bengal, which had been part of its film heritage for decades, reopened on 'Bangla Nababarsho' (Bengali New year) today.
"Bijoli and Chhabighar, a part of the psyche of the Bengali film audience and the industry, started their shows on Chaitra Sankranti day (the last day of the last Bengali month) yesterday as Friday is the release date of new film, after renovating the interiors, projection and sound system in sync with modern trends.
"Minar, the third one of the chain, will screen films from early next week as some patch work after renovation remains incomplete," Suranjan Pal, owner of the chain told PTI today.
Audiences were seen lining up before the ticket counters at Bijoli for a new Bengali film released on 'Nabobarsho'.
"Many single screens have been shut down or changed to plexes over the past few years. But when we talk about Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar there is a lump in our throat. We had been associated with Bengali cinema for ages, from Uttam-Suchitra blockbusters in the '60S and '70s to Tarun Majumder movies starring Rituparna Sengupta in early 2000 to Jeet-Koel starrers in the recent past," Pal said.
"We had never felt that the audience of Bengali cinema had stopped coming to the theatres but over time we had realised the need to adapt to changes. Hence the three theatres were closed on July 1 last year. We had initially thought of introducing two screens in each theatre but later on we took the challenge to stick to the one screen format," the owner said.
"The ornate exteriors of the three theatres have been retained," he added.
In sync with the times, the show timings have been altered and different films will be screened during different shows, Pal said.
Expressing joy over the development, Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee told PTI "Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar had been screening films of noted directors and noted production houses. Their reopening is vey good news especially after the good show by Bengal at the National Awards this year. It (reopening) will have a feel good factor."
Chatterjee said with large number of Bengali films being released these days, many of them are forced to have short runs at theatres despite doing well at the box office. The opening of three halls will give a little more space to the makers and producers of such films" he said.
Bengali hero and Trinamool Congress leader Soham Chakraborty recalled that his first film had run for weeks in Bijoli.
"These three theatres are linked to the culture and heritage of Bengali cinema. But I also wish that more such prominent closed theatres lift their shutters for the sudience," he said.