Rupam Talkies – the last single screen theatre of Ahmedabad is going to shut down. With this an era comes to an end. An era that I have witnessed as a child – a beautiful time that, sadly, will only remain in the memories of a generation. Ahmedabad was bubbling with theatres when I was a child. There 100+ single screen theatres in the city. Yes! More than 100! And I’ve seen movies in most of them.
Rupam was special because of several reasons. Firstly, it was bang in the heart of the city on the ever buzzing, crowded and chaotic Relief Road area. It was a walkable distance from the Kalupur Railway station on one side and Lal Darwaja Bus Depot on the other. Everything that you could want in your entire life could be bought within 50 mts. either side of the road!
Structurally, it was one of those strange, quaint theatres where the Upper Stalls had a better view of the screen than the Balcony, which was small and very far from the screen. Nevertheless, Balcony was always houseful because of the ‘family crowd’.
From Anant Balani’s ‘Patthar Ke Phool’ to Ketan Mehta’s best film – ‘Sardar’, I’ve watched countless movies at this theatre, including more than 7 viewings of ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ itself. But my favourite watch was SRK’s ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na’, which I watched back to back for 2 shows (once in Upper Stall & once in Balcony, of course). Never had I thought then, that I’ll become a screenwriter and go on to write 2 blockbusters for SRK.
A lot goes with Rupam. A lot. It’s like losing an old personal friend that you haven’t met in 20 years, but you cannot lament less over… I need a stiff drink and a good movie on my laptop tonight. Tonight, I’ll be crying for an old friend.