Will Menoka Cinema Hall soon shut shutters?
For lovebirds of South Kolkata, Menoka and Priya Cinema halls have always been the favourite hangouts. Not just strolling down the picturesque Lakes, couples and families have often dropped in for a movie at Menoka Cinema Hall. Built in 1949, this iconic South Kolkata hall had once catered to Raj Kapoor and even Amitabh Bachchan. Raj Kapoor came here for the screening of Mera Naam Joker, while Bachchan graced the release of Amar Akbar Antony. Much later, Boney Kapoor and Sridevi reserved seats for Roop Ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja and Aamir Khan for Lagaan.
But this very hall might soon down shutters if they do not get fire safety certificates from the authorities. It has been almost three years, that Menoka Cinema did not even receive clearance from the state’s directorate of electricity because they did not instal automatic switch gears that can cost more than 7 lakhs. They already have manual switch gears. As the owner Pranab Kumar Roy in a recent interview mentioned how difficult it is for a single-screen hall to comply with such costly proposals. Not just that, these switches installed by another well-known South Kolkata hall had stopped functioning within a year.
FAREWELL TO ELITE CINEMA HALL
According to the provisions of Electricity Act 2003 and Central Electricity Authority Regulations Act of 2010, a transformer of rating above 1,000 KVA requires installation of high tension switch gears. True such safety measures are undoubtedly needed for the welfare of the public, keeping in mind their safety, so that an Upohar tragedy is no repeated in this state. But the cost-effectiveness of running a single-screen hall, which at times have less than 25 percent occupancy, to spending lakhs in safety measures, is almost utopic. The result? Shutting down of single screens and converting them to real estate ventures!