City Landmarks – Roxy Cinema

“The texture that you see here, it cannot be created on a set. It is something extraordinary.”

I am at Roxy cinema with a filmmaker who is evaluating different locations for a project. The first thing that he notices and talks about is the texture of the building and what’s in there; the still life of a slowly dying dream. We meet some animated characters there. They talk about good old days. We all do but they have actually seen it. The cinema has witnessed Bhimpura neighborhood in it’s glory.

They tell us that cinema had a different name before partition. They lead us back to the main gate where the rusty tiles read ‘Rama Talkies’. The layout, the doors and the tiles have not been changed. They need bit of renovation but I am glad that they have not been given a gaudy makeover. That’s what makes Roxy Cinema special. It still has that aura and regality which must have wowed everyone in it’s heydays. It still does but it also evokes sadness and nostalgia. This factor makes it different from its neighboring Kumar and Nigar cinema. It is almost impossible to recreate Nigar in your imagination, standing inside in its main hall which is devoid of the seating area and being used as a warehouse. Kumar, still operational does not have classic grandeur of a single screen cinema. Roxy in comparison fares better. It has that yesteryear grandeur and it is still operational. You can stand in middle of the cinema and imagine it in its glory; with street hawkers, food vendors and a lawn with fountains which does not exist anymore. You can imagine how the neighborhood would have looked like.

Roxy Cinema’s facade is in particular very different from regular screen cinema. The architect must have considered the structures in the cinema’s vicinity and ensured that the Cinema looks part of the street. The main hall has two adjacent corridors. One has access to the projector and generator room while other used to have canteen and had connected screening room with the lawn which does not exist anymore. I can see arches closed with bricks. There are toilets at the far end.

Roxy was one of first cinemas to offer air-conditioning in Karachi. It does not have air-conditioning anymore. It keeps the fixed costs low. No one can put date of construction with reasonable accuracy. People in Bhimpura love to debate which of three; Kumar, Nigar and Roxy is the oldest and its all anecdotal. Does not matter how old they are, they all need intervention, love and care.




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Categories: City Landmarks

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2 Comments on “City Landmarks – Roxy Cinema”

  1. May 17, 2018 at 11:24 pm #

    What a beautiful old theatre. There is something about theatres from that era that really capture the imagination. What must it have been like at its peak?

  2. September 28, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    Hey 🙂 I’m interested in making a short film on this cinema. Can you please tell me if its still functioning or if you have any contact details with someone who works there?
    Please email me:

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