Now is the age of PVRs and cineplexes and it is an understood fact that the gentry of these multiplexes have no objection in traveling long distances to reach them. In the midst of these high end cineplexes, there are many old and not-so-famous cinema halls, which were, in their times, crowded with people. Janak Cinema Hall in Janak Puri, New Delhi, is one of them which stands in the middle of the crowd catering to the local populace. Far away from what one portrays a cinema hall to be, “a completely unimpressive building”, is how anybody will first describe it in his words. Placed amidst a very crowded market, it does not look like a cinema hall but a very old, worn out building. The road in front of the “building” is perpetually crowded with people. Janak Cinema Hall, that was once considered to be one amongst the most sought-after cinema halls of Delhi decades back, was burnt to ruins during the riots, in the year 1984. The deadly fire at the cinema hall, on 1st November, 1984 caught the eye of media, made headlines and left the residents aghast. Established in the year 1978, with the latest equipments of that time, the first movie to be shown on Janak’s 70 mm screen, the largest screen amongst all the cinema halls of Delhi at that time was, “Mukaddar ka Sikandar.” Many hits including Sholay, Kaalia and Umraaojaan were showcased in this theater and it was believed to be the ideal place for watching movies. After it was burnt, Janak was renovated but hardly attracted any audience and in turn earned very less profits. Janak worked, but did not catch the eye of anybody else other than the daily wage workers. Though attempts were made to prevent their entry and regain the cinema hall’s old charm, but that was a difficult job. According to sources, the cinema hall is being revamped into a multiplex with many internal as well as external changes. It will have multiple screens with an ambience matching with that of a cineplex. Seems as if Janak cinema hall is all set to spread its charm again!
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