Kolkata has played an integral role in the evolution of Indian cinema since the early 20th century, and there’s no better testament to this than the range of historical, edgy and independent cinemas that call this city home. Here’s a list of the Kolkata’s best cinemas to catch the latest films.
Cinema, Theater, Movie Theater
Star Theatre, Kolkata | Courtesy of Star Theater
Built in 1883, Star Theatre is much more than just a vintage cinema; the heritage institution was one of the earliest theaters in the city to screen Bengal’s first motion pictures. A symbol of Bengal’s rich cultural history, Star Theatre was once frequented by the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, pioneers of the socio-cultural and artistic movement known as the Bengali renaissance. While the building maintains its historic façade, its interiors are contemporary and accommodative of the modern cinema-goer’s demands. Simply put, this is a cinematic experience you simply cannot miss.
Priya Cinema has been around for more than half a century and yet continues to remain one of the city’s most popular cinema venues. Besides having frequently hosted the city premieres of numerous regional and national movies, the cinema has also consistently led its contemporaries in updating its sound and projection technologies. If the historical significance doesn’t impress you, the plush seating and high-quality movie experience will. To top it all, the building also houses a hip and reasonably priced pub, Vault.
Built in 1932, New Empire Cinema played host to ballet performances and plays until the introduction of films here in the early 1960s. With a seating capacity of 1,000 and a well-equipped food court, the cinema manages to remain relevant half a century later, even as multiplexes and chain movie theaters flood the city.
Inaugurated in 1943 and renovated first in 1956 and then in 2005, Paradise Cinema is yet another heritage institution that has managed to remain integral in the city’s cinema culture today. The cinema regularly plays the latest Bollywood, Hollywood and regional movie releases.
This single-screen cinema in Dharmatala started as an Opera House, but was revamped to a screen cinema by 1940. Patrons over the years have included legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. And with tickets at prices starting as low as INR60 ($0.88), there’s no reason for you not to visit this landmark cinema!
Located in Kolkata’s historic Kalighat neighborhood, this single-screen cinema was built in 1947 and has since acquired the status of a heritage institution in the city. Along with having hosted the premieres of various films, the cinema itself has played cameos in films such as Do Anjaane, a 1975 thriller starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. Today, Basusree frequently hosts screenings of retro and foreign films, in addition to the latest Bollywood releases.