Chennai’s iconic single screen — Casino Theatre — gets a new lease of life, as efforts to revamp the interiors of the theatre are currently underway. Considering its rich legacy among cinephiles, the building will remain untouched, says a spokesperson for the theatre.
Walk into Casino and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with its interior, for it’s nothing that the theatre is known for. The wooden seats have been replaced by comfortable cushion seats. Right from the projector to audio system, everything gets a fancy upgrade. “We are trying our best to give the audiences a satisfying theatrical experience,” he says, adding that the renovation work started over a month back. SPI Cinemas was the previous stakeholders and was managing operations at the theatre until the lease period expired earlier this year. The lease is now owned by an independent body. Casino Theatre is likely to be fully operational with the Ajith Kumar-starrer Nerkonda Paarvai, which is releasing on August 8. “Our original plan was to open the theatre sometime in the second week of August. Since it’s Ajith Kumar’s movie, we are slogging day and night to open with Nerkonda Paarvai,” he adds.
A bit of history
Casino Theatre was inaugurated on December 13, 1941 and the first film to be screened was the British comedy Turned Out Nice Again. The theatre is owned by owned by JH Irani family, who, visited Madras in the early 1930s to set-up an ice factory on General Patters Road.
The theatre primarily screened English movies in its first decade. But it started playing Tamil movies in the mid-1950s. However, the theatre went back to screening English movies in 1971.
By the early 2000s, Casino Theatre started screening popular Telugu movies and became the go-to theatre for Telugu people living in the city.
Casino was renovated in 2012 and was inaugurated as a part of the Chennai International Film Festival.