Indira Chowk, Connaught Place,
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The Regal Theatre was the first cinema to be constructed in New Delhi in the newly developing Connaught Place area. It opened in 1932 and the architect was Walter Sykes George.
The name of the theatre is spelt out in ‘cut out’ letters on the top of the building and there is a restaurant located on the first floor which has windows extending the width of the building. Seating in the auditorium is located in stalls and a tiny balcony, which is supported by a series of pillars. The space between each pillar contains a private box (seven in total).
Intitially the Regal Theatre was not a great success, but as the area developed it became a major cinema and from 1938 screened English language films only. It was here that the Indian premier of “Gone With the Wind” was held in December 1940. The Regal Theatre also presented stage shows by visiting British repertory companies and Noel Coward performed here while in the city.
In 1954 it became the first cinema in India to screen CinemaScope when “The Robe” was premiered. In recent years the Regal Theatre has fallen on hard times and has a rather seedy, ill-kept appearance as it screens semi-porn films to the local working class population. But slowly the Connaught Place area is being revitalised and there could still be hope of a revival in fortune for the Regal Theatre. Sadly it closed as a single screen in March 2017 to be converted into a multiplex.
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