Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-05-03 11:15 Bengaluru: Navrang, the iconic single-screen theater and a landmark of Bengaluru, will soon become a multiplex, thereby joining the ever-growing list of theaters which have succumbed to the juggernaut of the multiplex.The theatre which could seat 1,100 cinema fans was shut on April 30 for renovation. “We have to change according to the demands and needs of people,” said Mohan, owner of Navrang. “Due to multiplex screens, our collections have dropped considerably. Hence, we want to renovate the theatre by December and introduce Audi-1 and Audi-2 with other facilities. The screening will be halted for a month.”The foundation stone for Navrang was laid on June 30, 1961, and it started screening movies from 1963 onwards. “The first movie screened was Veera Kesari of Dr Raj Kumar. Other than Kannada, we screen Telugu, Hindi and English movies as well,” said Mohan.Navrang is luckier, as it would return as a multiplex, but the fate of another popular theatre in the city hangs in balance. Tribhuvan along with Kailash were shut on April 29 as the lease period came to an end. Built in 1973, the theater was wildly popular with movie fans. The first movie to be screened at the theatre was Rajkumar starrer Mooruvare Vajra. “Earlier people used to wait in queue for two hours and there have been incidents where people had torn off their shirts when they didn’t get tickets,” said Balchandran B, who has been manager of Tribuvan for 40 years. “The last movie to be screened at Tribuvan was Randeep Hooda-starrer Laal Rang while Last Bus was the last movie at Kailash.” Balchandran said the building had been handed over to the owner as the lease period had come to an end. “Now it is left to him [owner]. The lease period had got over five to six years ago but we had asked for extension,” said Balchandran. Tribuvan could seat 783 people and was the first theater in the city to provide a lift facility. “We had lot of issues related to parking. Our parking lot has a capacity of 25 to 30 cars. These days, everyone has a two wheeler and a car. And these days people don’t like to buy tickets waiting in queue. Most of the tickets are booked online. Hence the single screen theaters are slowly getting replaced by multiplex screens.” said Balchandran. More in the line Movie Land along with Santhosh, Nartaki and Sapna, located on Mysore Bank Road in Majestic, will also be going the multiplex way. Ramakrishna, manager, Movie Land, confirmed the sale of the land. “The land has been sold and there could be a big shopping complex with more than two screens. It is being said that Reliance has bought the land for further development,” said Ramakrishna.Hit hard by the multiplex boom and the changing tastes of audiences, Santhosh, Nartaki and Sapna will be shutting down. Santhosh and other theaters in the vicinity came up in 1974. While Santhosh has a seating capacity of 1214, Nartaki and Sapna have 1034 seats. “There are land issues and the matter is in the court. Once they get resolved, the theater might be shut down for building a multiplex,” Ganesh AU, manager at Santhosh theater. According to Thomas D’Souza, former president, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, the number of theaters in the state had dropped from 1,260 to 750. “There were 200 theaters in Bengaluru Urban and Rural. KG Road had held a record for having 17 theaters. Now, only nine remain on the road,” D’Souza. D’Souza cited several reasons for the death of single screens. “These theaters lack modern infrastructure such as modern toilets, comfortable seats, parking area for cars, two-wheelers. They cannot afford to renovate to match up to this standard as the revenue generation is less. The multiplexes screen offer 50 percent revenue from the collection, while the traditional theaters cannot guarantee the same. If these single screen theaters have to survive government's assistance is needed,” said D’Souza “We have given representations following which the government had announced to set up Janata theaters with 300 seating capacity,” added D’Souza KFCC has no role to play Jaishankar, KFCC, Exhibitors Association Secretary, said KFCC had no role to play as most of these places are owned by landlords. Exhibitors who have taken land on lease will have to return the property when the lease period gets over. Many land owners have realised that building a complex generates more revenue than having such theaters. “With the recent amendments in Cinematography Act, very few cinema theaters are given a fair verdict to increase the screen without damaging the existing structure. That is if the seating capacity is of 900, such theaters can be divided in three parts. And the licence period to exhibit is extended from two years to five years to help them recover money they invest in renovation,” said Jaishankar.