Inadequate viewers lead to closure of Sylhet cinemasZaman Monir . Sylhet
The receding number of viewers has led to the closure of cinemas one after another in the Sylhet city.
The owners have said they are being forced to turn the cinemas into multi-storey business centers to make up the loss caused by the declining number of viewers in the cinemas over the past one decade.
Three out of seven cinemas in the city have already been closed down and owners of two more cinemas also have reportedly decided to close the halls, sources involved in the entertainment business said.
Screening of films had begun in Sylhet region as early as 1938 with Lalkuthi Cinema at Bandarbazar in the erstwhile municipal town.
Later on Dilshad, Rangmahal, Abakash, Nandita, Kakoli and Monika cinemas were set up at different parts in the then municipal town to accommodate the increasing number of cinema viewers in that time.
Three of the cinemas — Rangmahal on Jail Raod, Abokash and Manika — have already been closed down in the past seven years, city dwellers claimed.
Rangmal has been replaced by a multi-storey shopping mall, while Abakash has been turned into a residential hotel and Manika into a business complex.
Syed Khalil Ahmed, who once frequented the city cinemas, has told New Age that tremendous crisis of quality films, coupled with unhealthy atmosphere in the cinemas, is responsible for falling number of cinemagoers.
‘People will again go to the commercial halls for watching films and the cinemas would regain their lost glory if sufficient number of quality films like Manpura and Rashed Amar Bandhu are made,’ Shahjalal University of Science and Technology social science professor Himadri Shekhar Roy said.
Blaming inadequate number of viewers for the closure of cinemas, Lalkuthi Cinema’s manager Amit Das said sale of pirated VCD and DVD of commercial films alongside the absence of quality films was discouraging the viewers from going to the commercial halls.
‘Only 30 to 35 viewers against the 576 seats in maximum shows are forcing the owner to consider another options of business,’ Amit said.
Nandita Cinema’s director Zahir Ahmed Laskar said they had already decided to turn the entertainment centre into a multi-storey shopping centre.
Being contacted, Sylhet deputy commissioner Khan Mohammad Bilal said they were aware of the sale of pirated CDs in the city.
‘We are also conducting regular drives in the city to seize the pirated CDs and take step against their sellers,’ the deputy commissioner said.
Talking to New Age, people, however, blamed availability of television sets in almost every family and easy access to satellites television channels were the main reasons behind the declining in the number of cinemas viewers.
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