The saga of Shimla theatres

In the age of multiplexes, Shimlaities don’t have many options when it comes to movies. Three theaters may sound a good deal for the town but that can be referred to as a mere ‘hear-say’.

If you talk of quality, Ritz-the latest multiplex theater in Shimla has something to offer if not all. The seating is fine; the ambiance is good and organized offering one with few good options when it comes to junk food. The rest two theaters, better known as Rivoli and Shahi, through the years have seen lot of crowd but when it comes to infrastructure have nothing new to offer. Rather they have degraded. The quality had reduced by bounds.

Where Shahi offers a bad repute with mice running under the seats, Rivoli too offers broken chairs, stale munchies, and a horrible tasting coffee. Don’t get surprised if you find your seats occupied and then you are asked to move to some other seats, or if you don’t manage to find a seat in spite of a ticket in your hand or if a drunken ticket checker awaits you with no torch in hand to show you the way to the seats. All that for some good amount that can be used for many better things even if that just means eating.

Where in the other parts of the country, the opening of multiplex cine max and deluxe mini theaters is giving boost to the trend of watching movies in theaters; the cine-lover in Shimla is suffering from problems like comfort, hygiene and even safety. In absence of quality movie halls or for that sake even video parlors, the pirated CD trade is thriving and booming.

Overall, the entertainment options are few for the local crowd. Indeed one can feast his/her eyes on the latest trends and hint of glamor with a walk down the mall road or binge on junk food with options like Dominoes and chat shops readily serving to the appetite but that’s just about it. Theater-a name by which Shimla was recognized has already disappeared through the decades-and cinema-something that has emerged from it is already at the pity of the officials or the cine lover’s endurance at least in Shimla.

Photos by: Ankit Sood.

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  1. says: NITYIN

    Rivoli cinema has certainly gone to dogs with time!
    I remember from my childhood days my dad used to take me there to watch the western classics and blokbusters, the 5-7 show, after school. Watching along with dad and him explaining the story and dialouges was a great experience. Movies like “The Great Escape” , the epic story of escape from Nazi camp is still there in my memory.

    It was later that the cinema hall starting showing the sleazy, Night Queen, kinda stuff. Now for years have’nt entered this cinema hall. Last one, I remember watching MPK, during my college days and that was it. Also, the approach leading to the cinema is also a dampner as there is hardly any space left to walk with the stalls of the Tibetians covering almost entire road.

    Shimla indeed needs some good entertainment space though I myself do not dig for multiplexes. Yes, certainly a good decent cinema hall would do for me.

    If Ahmedabad ever happens to be your destination during your travels do not miss the Drive-in Cinema hall. This is something out of the world experience. You can drive your car to the hall, watch the movie sitting on top of the car, munch what ever you bring from home and really have a great fun time.

  2. says: Sahil

    This is not true ….. Ms. Neha Chandok has not visited these cinemas and facts are not true…. Shahi of today has amazing interiors and management.. I am Shocked at the irresponsible behaviour of this lady…. i think she must ve dreamt what she .. i wouldve appreciated had she visited shahi before writing such an article. such people should not be allowed to write or scribble words in prestigious papers.

  3. says: Amit

    Well, Shahi may have been renovated (thankfuly nuff) but it does still carry the same old reputation and name by which people recognise it. People in shimla hardly know that the theatre has been renovated. The mice, stinking conditions and stale popcorns were such an issue that I left going to Shahi when Ritz opened. It is good to see at least someone highlighting the real issues and becoming the youth’s voice


  4. says: Vishu

    Shahi is ridiculous. Heard they had a renovation and went there last week when i was in shimla… it still stinks and the guards are so uninhabitating. its worse. It better close down…

  5. says: Chhavi

    I went to watch a movie in Shahi last month. It was after a decade that i went to the cinema hall (i usually do not watch movies) and i was pleasently surprised to see a clean and comfortable Shahi Cinema. I remember my last visit to this theatre in 1999 when i preffered not to use the toilets. This time the toilets were neat and clean and all tiled. As for the seating arrangements, the best were the Leathered Big Recliner seats. Very comfortable and gives you the royal feeling.
    Seems someone has taken real pain to renovate it and giving cine goers a pleasent experience in Shimla.

  6. says: sahil

    Mr. amit and Mr. Vishnu have hardly visited Shah. Their opinions are strong but based on ignorance i have my sympathies with them its better they shut something else coz Shahi will not. They must visit n then try commenting there.

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