Roll credits: Bambino Cinema to shut down

First Pakistani cinema to have a 70mm screen closing down under the weight of technologically advanced theaters.

Express May 26, 2011


The first Pakistani cinema to have a 70mm screen, Bambino Cinema, is closing down as, the owner claimed, he cannot keep up with the latest technology.

“I surrender as a cinema owner,” said Sheikh Adeel Imtiaz, the owner. “Cinema is no longer a feasible business, at least in the niche that Bambino once had. Saddar is also no longer the centre of the city.”

The entertainment hub of the 1960s, Bambino Cinema was also the most popular spot for advertising billboards on Sir Aga Khan III Road. Imtiaz felt that “my target audience no longer has the buying power”. Recently, he tried to change the seating and the flooring but “nothing seemed to work due to Bambino’s location”. It is expected that the site will be converted into a mall.

About three decades ago, Karachi had 101 cinema halls with names such as Godeon, Rivoli, Plaza, Opera, Paradise, Capitol, Rex, Rio and Palace. Few of them survive and Bambino may be added to their list. It was once owned by Hakim Ali Zardari and was the first cinema to have two balconies. A mini-cinema, Scala, was built on its first floor in the early 1970s. The city’s three drive-in cinemas were long sold for flats.

Detailed story on here.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2011.

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