New Delhi's iconic Regal Cinema, an 84-year-old movie theatre that has survived high tax competition from piracy and multiplexes, on amusement, may eventually have to shut down due to the demonetisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi drive.
According to the Hindustan Times, Aamir Khan-starred Dangal, scheduled for release on Friday, could function as the last film to be screened in the iconic theater.
"Business has been down for a decade, but last month's groups were the worst. We are not able to recover even the operating costs. Half the money we get from the tickets goes to the distributor. It costs us over Rs 2 lakh per week to run a show," Vishal Choudhary, owner of Regal Cinema constructed at Connaught Place in 1932, told the daily.
Choudhary added that the theatre hall has cancelled nighttime shows six times in a month and that Dangal could be the last film if this situation continues to be screened. The owners are also required to pay 40 percent of the cost of the tickets as amusement tax.
The movie hall is witness to late superstars Raj Kapoor and Nargis coming to attend film premieres.
Choudhary told the daily.
The owner expressed sorrow on the way authorities continue to treat single-screen theatres and said: "For years, we now have been seeking permission to convert Regal Cinema into a multiplex. But while several others in the vicinity were enabled to do so, our requests were turned down."
The initial two floors of the Regal Building were sold for their famed wax museum. The ground floor still belongs to Choudhary.
Another picture hall Vishal Cineplex, that is the biggest living single-screen theater situated in west Delhi's Rajouri Garden, "might close anytime" shortly if this scenario prevails with only 12 to 15 individuals coming for their nighttime shows.
Out of the seating capacity of 1,400 individuals, 15 percent of the seats would be occupied before Modi announced his choice to demonetise high-value currency notes, theatre manager SR Talwar told HT including that bookings have gone down to less than five percent in a month.
Talwar has seen veteran actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor coming to visit Vishal Cineplex.
"It was the only cinema hall between Model Town and Rajouri Garden. It is been to me like a child. It really is painful to understand that folks are not coming, despite prices being kept in the Rs 70-Rs 150 range," he told the daily.