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LEGEND OF THE LOST – Metro Cinema Hall

Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta in Black and White

The Metro Cinema Hall was built by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, an American Production Company, based in Beverly Hills, USA in 1934 to promote their films in Calcutta, which had a large English-speaking population of Britishers. Designed by Thomas W. Lamb, a Scottish born New York based theatre architect, The Metro had a gala inauguration in 1935. It had a grand palatial stairway and a well equipped Bar. The first film that was shown in the grand hall was “Way out West”. During those early decades of that century, despite the presence of the Globe, Elite and Regal, the Metro was regarded as the most modern of the cinema halls in Calcutta, till the foundation of New Empire and Lighthouse in Humayun Place, near the New Market.

Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta - from opposite side of the road
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta – from opposite side of the road

The Metro cinema was a favourite among the film buffs during the Golden Ages of the 40’s to 70’s. But the scenario of the golden era changed with time. It changed with the changing audience tastes and a complete lack of maintenance of the hall due to suffering continuous losses in the business. In fact, in those days the booking counters suffered terrible losses, due to the prevailing unrest political situation at Calcutta during 1970s. Yet the show continued till the fatal blow to the business came during the late 2000s, in the form of rising new multiplexes and the consequent severe loss in the booking office. Finally the theater had no other way but to shut the doors in 2011. The property was auctioned by the heritage commission of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation in 2012, with the condition to preserve at least the façade of the heritage building. The property was bought by a Mumbai-based realtor who expressed their plan to renovate the theater into a six storey multiplex along with retail and food courts keeping the heritage façade, the front section of the building and the graceful palatial stairways as it is. But, in the process, the graceful lady of Chowringhee area will be lost forever.

Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta - beginning of the end
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta – beginning of the end
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta - beginning of the end another picture
Metro Cinema Hall Calcutta – beginning of the end another picture
Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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