96-year old Star Theatre closed down permanently


Star theater Chennai

One of the oldest existing cinema halls in the city, the Star Theatre, was closed down permanently yesterday. Old timers and those living in the locality closer to the cinema hall got nostalgic and recalled the many memorable movies which had been screened in the locality. For long, the theatre catered to the needs of the locals before multiplexes sprung up in the vicinity. Now, this famous Triplicane landmark is all set to be razed.

Star Theatre has even screened some ‘silent movies’ in the forties and fifties. The theatre has become a victim of the latest trend of demolishing cinema halls and making them as commercial and residential complexes or shopping malls. Star is the latest on the long list of theatres which had been closed down in the past decade: Sayani, Wellington, Globe a.k.a. Alankar, Nataraj, Uma, Ram, Rocky, Bhuvanwasari, Vasanthi, Megala, Nagesh, Pilot and Rajakumari.

Liberty Cinamas in Kodambakkam was the recently closed down popular hang out place.  Star Talkies originated as Cinema Popular, built in 1916 on a piece of land owned by one Venkataramanuja Naidu. In 1936, when the talkies came, Cinema Popular morphed into Star Talkies. The first talkie to be screened here was Kalidasa. The theater also screened the legendary Yaadon Ki Baarat starring Bollywood’s ever-green superstar Dharmendra. The film, which enjoyed 100 weeks run in the theatre, was even visited by Dharmendra once. MGR-hit Petraldhan Pillaiya, Chandralekha and Rosappo Ravikkaikari were the other successful films screened here.

Amma, the present head of the State, is said to have watched a film in this theatre along with his mother Sandhya in her younger days. It’s no doubt that the film would hold lasting and happy memories for those associated with it!