Monday, November 23, 2009

One of Jayanagar’s landmarks left to decay

One of Jayanagar’s landmarks left to decay

Chitra V. Ramani
Puttanna Kanagal theatre reduced to dumping yard
— Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

NEEDED ATTENTION: A view of Puttanna Kanagal theatre in Jayanagar 4th Block in Bangalore.
Bangalore: For more than a decade now, no film has been screened at the Puttanna Kanagal theatre in Jayanagar 4th Block here. The theatre, named after renowned film-maker Puttanna Kanagal, has been reduced to a dumping yard.

In the basement parking lot of the theatre, many vehicles seized by the Regional Transport Authority have been dumped. It is not just vehicles; old cane baskets and construction material are also dumped in the dingy and dank basement. If that was not bad enough, residents in and around the area claim that the theatre had become a haven for anti-social elements.

“This is what the theatre has been reduced to. In 2004, there was a move to renovate the theatre. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike now has plans to demolish the landmark and construct a state-of-the-art theatre,” said N. Mukund of Citizens’ Action Forum.

He said that the civic authority had announced a few years ago of its plans to demolish the theatre and part of the vegetable market and construct a commercial mall, a multi-screen theatre and a multi-level parking lot in their place.

He said that the property worth Rs. 20 crore was going to waste, as the BBMP was delaying the project.

“The residents and even the Jayanagar MLA have appealed to the BBMP to take up the project soon. There has been no positive response so far,” he said.

He said that the BBMP could remodel the theatre to a theatre-cum-auditorium. “There is no auditorium in this part of the city. The nearest auditorium is Ravindra Kalakshetra on J.C. Road. Several renowned film personalities, who had claimed that they would approach the BBMP and pressure it to revive the theatre, are now silent,” he said.

Film actor Ambarish, who was introduced to the film industry by Puttanna Kanagal, said that the present state of the theatre was an “insult to the acclaimed filmmaker”. “If the BBMP cannot maintain it, they should at least give it on lease to someone who will. The Chief Minister should intervene and pressure the BBMP,” he said.

He said that fellow actor Vishnuvardhan had for many years expressed his desire to maintain the theatre, as a tribute to Puttanna Kanagal. Incidentally, even Vishnuvardhan was introduced by Kanagal.

Jayanagar MLA B.N. Vijayakumar told The Hindu that he had on several occasions, instructed the RTO not to use the basement to dump their vehicles. “There are many other problems that have arisen due to lack of regular maintenance. I will bring pressure on the BBMP again to take up the work as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, BBMP sources claimed that they were in the process of finalising the detailed project report submitted by Sundaram Consultants for renovation of the complex and theatre. The project will be taken up soon, they added.

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