Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sapphire and Safire

Sapphire is a gemstone.

Safire was the theatre started by a family dealing in gemstones. Veecumsees the jewellery people were the ones who owned and operated these theatres. The other theatres in this complex ( it was one of the very first multiplex theatres in India) were Blue Diamond and Emerald.

1964: Safire (a 70mm theatre, again one of the first among 70mm theatres) was opened and the first movie was Cleopatra, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It was certified as an Adult movie. I was studying in school. The theatre was just a 5 minute walk from my house.
I bought myself a pair of full pants (!) and a pair of shoes. I went and saw the movie along with a few of my school friends. I have even preserved the tickets till this day!! Among the other movies that I remember seeing: It's a mad, mad, mad,mad world, Sound of Music, Lawrence
of Arabia and My Fair Lady. It was a wonderful theatre, was fully air-conditioned (in those days we used to have theatres which had some portions air-conditioned, hence the modern theatres labelled themselves as fully air-conditioned) and each seat had a cloth cover, always clean.
It also had some cubicles with three seats each and many couples used to buy three tickets and occupy the cubicles!

The other theatres which came up were Blue Diamond and Emerald. Blue Diamond was dubbed as a walk-in, walk-out theatre. A movie was screened continuously from 1 pm in the afternoon till late in the night. Patrons could walk in any time and stay on as long as they pleased. Emerald was a small theatre which screened Hindi movies and such.

This theatre complex which was like an oasis in Mount Road is alas, no longer there. Some people bought the theatre, wanted to construct a big office complex and after bringing down the buildings gave up the project. The place looks so desolate now. What a fall.

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