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It’s ‘The End’ for landmark Shantala theatre in Mysuru

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Mysuru: After entertaining movie buffs, especially the family audience, with finest cinemas for nearly four decades, the iconic Shantala theatre on Narayan Shastri road in Mysuru has stopped running shows.

A gallery of films screened at Shantala theatre

The cinema house was an integral part of movie-goers in Mysuru, who enjoyed their stars on the silver screen in not just Kannada but in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu.

The lounge at the balcony of Shantala theatre

Its journey began with Matinee Idol Dr Rajkumar’s ‘Bangarada Panjara’ movie in February 26, 1974 till the recent Darshan starrer Kurukshetra, which was screened to packed houses. Since then, it has been the go-to place for movie-goers in Mysuru.

The fabricated idol of Shantala, popular as ‘Natya Rani’ in the legend.

For, it was the first theatre in Mysuru to introduce technology in its shows. Like, it was the first adopt 2k projector and its screen was imported from England which gave the audience a wonderful experience to watch movies. Besides, it had amplifiers and high-end speakers that made it worth to catch up on movies here. It started with three shows and the tickets were priced at Rs 2.35 paise.

Unlike other places, it boasted of good ambience. It had a seating capacity of 606 in auditorium and 220 seating capacity at the balcony.

VIP box

It had a special seating facility for VIPs where many legendary actors including Dr Rajkumar Vishnuvardhan, Ambareesh, Shivaraj Kimar, Raghavendra Rajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Darshan Thogudeepa, Sudeep, Yash, actress Jayamala, Tara, Bharathi and others have enjoyed the movies.

People will miss ‘Namo Venkatesha’ song

The cinema house played the classic divine song ‘Namo Venkatesa’ rendered by Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, beginning of the show. It was the only movie house –perhaps till date – that played this classical song which the movie buffs, especially connoisseurs of music are surely going to miss.

According to Shantala theatre’s proprietor NP Padaki, the three-minute song was recorded in Madras and was a big favourite among the audience. He recalled that many had demanded him to play it twice.  

Earlier, the popularity of the theatre was such that people from far off villages would come in bullock cart in the wee hours to catch early morning show.

Despite the huge footfall here, there were no complaints of tickets being sold in the black. The theatre manager Devaraj told mysoorunews.com that many goons tried to threaten them but they stuck their way and effectively handled the menace.

“Earlier, the source of entertainment was less and even movie stars and directors aspired to entertain their audience. This was how many theatres thrived. During Shivarathri festival, night shows were organized at theatre and it was a massive hit among the people,” said Padaki.

Some of the movies that ran 100 days were ‘Bhaktha Kumbara’, ‘Hosabelaku’, ‘Vasanthageetha’ and others of ‘Annavru’ movies,  Ramesh Arvind starrer ‘America America’ completed 35 weeks. Among the recent ones, Hat Trick hero Shivaraj Kumar and Dhananjaya’s massive hit ‘Tagaru’ ran 25 weeks, informed Padaki.

The theatre was housed on a land that belonged to neighbouring Anathalaya Trust on lease. Now, the trust is seeking the land, hence the theatre decided to shut on March 13, 2020. 

“We are grateful to Mysureans and all the movie-goers who enjoyed their time here. We thank audience for their love and affection for four decades,” said Padaki. 

Considering the cinema house’s contribution in shaping the Mysureans’ cinematic experience, proprietors have decided to give away the cinema projector and other equipment to the University of Mysore.

However, the landmark address of Shantala will remain for ever, even if the theatre may pave way for a marriage hall, like in the case of other single screens that have met the similar fate.

– Team Mysoorunews

Mysooru News

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