Veteran actresses Jayakumari and ‘CID’ Shakuntala, playback singer L.R. Eswari, music director Shankar Ganesh, actor Ilavarasu, directors Singampuli, Gauthaman, Asaithambi and Vijay Anand and many others congregated in front of the frontage (or the remains of) Modern Theatres in Salem and recalled the pride and glory of the once-famous building which has witnessed many historical incidents in Tamil cinema.
Established in 1935, Modern Theaters was the place where 102 Tamil films, 1 Hindi film, 1 English film and several other South Indian movies were produced for many years prior to and after India’s Independence. The last film that came out of the Theatres was ‘Kaali Koil Kabaali’ many years back after which the premises became a colony for residents, leaving only the frontage as the remains of the once-famous structure.
Even today, some film-makers hold the muhurat shot of their films in front of the frontage. The shooting of the upcoming film ‘Azhagumagan’ was recently launched from in front of the Theatres in which several VIPs referred to above took part and recalled many nostalgic moments they had spent in the premises. Shakuntala said that she would never forget Modern Theatres and would breathe her last with fond memories of the venue.
She added that the venue has played many important roles in her life and said she felt very proud to be standing in front of the structure. Shankar Ganesh joined her in praising the venue when he said that the remains of the structure is the ‘actual identity’ of Tamil cinema. “I have marveled at several films produced by Modern Theatres; the excitement that I’m standing in the same place where Mr. Sundaram (founder of Modern Theatre) once stood is insatiable,” said the music director.