City Landmarks – Kumar Cinema, Napier Road

Kumar Cinema looks like a residential block from the main Napier Road. It has been painted in a peculiar green shade and does not have imposing look that you will expect from a single screen cinema. It is tucked between a tea stall and dentist shops on the other side. The people at cinema put the construction date way before the partition. It has not undergone many renovations whichever the date maybe.

Afternoon show is in full swing when I reach the cinema. A poster announces opening of a new movie. Certain advice follows which looks misplace especially with the choice of font colors. Another hoarding announces that the ticket price is Rs. 100. The Manager of the cinema does not let us take a peek inside the main hall and requests us to wait till the end of the show. He takes us to the open area instead where the doors from the hall open. The empty space is much bigger for cinema operations now and being used by vegetable hawkers and rickshaw drivers. The canteen looks abandoned. In some parts of the open area I can see beautiful vintage tiles which would have covered much larger area in cinema’s heydays. And the cinema must have seen glory days of Cinema in Karachi when there were more than a 100 cinemas. Roxy and Nigar were two other famous cinemas in Kumar’s vicinity. Nigar still exists but does not screen movies anymore and been used as a warehouse. Kumar and Roxy have perhaps survived due to proximity to bus stop where commuters from all over the province and Baluchistan stop temporarily.

People at the cinema re-emphasize that the cinema is really old. Perhaps the only thing that they can be proud about. We all need meaning and pride in our lives and the association with Cinema has not been much of a source of pride. Others find similar dilemmas in their respective professional lives. I try to explain it to them. They don’t get it but it sounds like friends talking.

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Categories: City Landmarks

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