Thursday, December 03, 2009

Screened by promises, theatre sees no show

Screened by promises, theatre sees no show


Aniruddha Chowdhury

Y Maheshwara ReddyFirst Published : 02 Dec 2009 04:44:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 02 Dec 2009 07:02:46 AM IST
BANGALORE: Once, Puttanna Chitramandira was a favourite place for cine buffs in and around Jayanagar to watch Kannada films. For this theatre named after director Puttanna Kanagal, the location (Jayanagar Shopping Complex) and other facilities gave it the cutting edge. Though there were Shanti and Nanda theatres in Janayanagar, Puttanna Chitramandira used to screen only Kannada films.
The theatre was maintained by Karnataka Film Industrial Development Corporation (KFIDC) on a lease basis for 20 years. With the state government disbanding the KFIDC, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) had closed Puttanna Chitramandira on April 30, 2004. The then BMP commissioner MR Srinivasamurthy even promised to take up renovation of Puttanna Chitramandira within four months. Later, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce also tried to hold talks with the BMP authorities but it was in vain. Many a times, artiste Vishnuvardhan also expressed his willingness to maintain Puttanna Chitramandira because the theatre was named after his mentor, director Puttanna Kannagal and the BMP council meeting discussed whether to handover the theatre to Vishnuvardhan or invite tenders for its renovation. It is believed that the then BJP officials preferred Vishnuvardhan, while Congress and JD(S) officials wanted to invite tenders for renovation of the theatre. However, all of them forgot about the theatre in time.
Later, Puttanna Chitramandira was converted into a temporary police station to facilitate the renovation of Jayanagar police station.
Many people expected the BMP to start the renovation after the inauguration of the reconstructed Jayanagar police station. But that didn’t happen. Still, there is no dearth of assurances from authorities concerned, about Puttanna Chitramandira.
“It was a great help for Kannada films. Earlier, there were other theatres such as Nanda and Shanthi in Jayanagar. Now there is no theatre to screen Kannada films in and around Jayanagar with the closure of these theatres. The closure of Puttanna Chitramandira is an insult and dishonour to veteran director late Puttanna Kanagal. It is high time for the BMP authorities to renovate and reopen it for the benefit of Kannada films,’’ says S V Rajendra Singh Babu, president, Kannada Film Producers’ Association.
Echoing similar opinion, director Nagabharana, chairman of Kannada Chalanachitra Academy said that it was unfortunate that the authorities concerned are not taking any action to renovate Puttanna Chitramandira.
“I have been writing two letters every month to Commissioner of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike requesting him to hand over Puttanna Chitramandira to the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, all in vain.
The academy will maintain it and ensure screening of Kannada films,’’ says Nagabharana.
Meanwhile, Bharatlal Meena, Commissioner of BBMP said that the Palike has been preparing a plan to renovate Puttanna Chitramandira.
“We will send the proposal to the state government shortly,’’ says Meena.

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