VIJAYAWADA: Over 15 cinemas have been turned into shopping malls or other commercial establishments in the city in recent years.
Speaking to Express, T Sai Surya Prasad, secretary, Vijayawada Exhibitors’ Association, said maintaining a theatre in present days was a frustrating task for owners. “Profits are low because of a significant drop in quality movies and high maintenance costs. It has become very difficult to guess what attracts the audience. On an average, only one film clicks at the box office out of every 10 released,” said Prasad, who owns Rama Talkies
“Taxes too are increasing year after year, placing additional burdens on us. Besides entertainment tax, we pay property tax, dangerous and offensive (D&O) trade license fee, water bills, power charges, VAT etc. It is tough to run a theatre,” said P Venkateswara Rao, joint secretary, AP Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Saraswathi cinema in the One Town, which was turned into Mahaveer Plaza, was the first theatre in the city to be demolished for a shopping complex. Seshamahal, in the same area, has become Seshamahal Plaza three years ago.
Kanakadurga theatre in the Seetharampuram is now a godown, while Venkateswara in Labbipet was replaced by a shopping complex. Vijaya Krishna cinema in Krishna Lanka will be converted into a marriage hall shortly.
Vinod cinema in Governorpet, Mohandas in Patamata, Radha theatre in Gandhi Nagar, Vijaya near Eluru Lakulu and Ramachandra in Gollapudi have been demolished and plans are afoot for shopping malls at these places.
Natraj theatre at Nidamanuru was also closed recently and many more in and around the city are on the verge of closing. Earlier there were over 50 cinemas in the city. Now, the number has come down to 35.