On a recent visit in Rajbari town, The Daily Star correspondent found that the district's largest cinema hall, Bushundhara at Boropul Mor area, had been brought down as the cinema hall authorities had sold out. The hall will make way for a multi-storied building.
Other movie theatres are also in trouble. Tofajjal Hossan Mia, owner of Sadhona Cinema Hall said, “I used to own seven cinema halls in the district but had to close them all due to the lack of audiences.”
He added that he made profits only during Eid. He had several other grouses: one was the popularity of YouTube films that people could view on their mobile phones. “On the other hand, our films cannot draw audiences, because the stories are not up to the mark. However, Indian films draw a crowd and are greatly enjoyed. The government and film producers should take initiatives to make better films,” he said.
Aslam Hossan, a former employee in Chitra cinema hall in Rajbari town said, “Chitra was the first cinema hall in Rajbari town. After that four other halls came up in the town. But now only one movie theatre screens films regularly. I lost my job four years ago as Chitra cinema hall building was declared unsafe. After that my family faced much hardship. Now I run a small betel leaf shop.
Monowar Hossan, a resident of Baliakandi upazila, said, “Film shows began in Baliakandi Upazila at Lolita Cinema hall in 1984. After that cinema halls gathered momentum. Post 2006, there was a major slump. Lolita cinema hall closed down in 2010 due to lack of audience, while the upmarket Modhumoti cinema hall stopped screening films for two and half years because the owners ran into trouble. Most of the cinema halls are now being used as jute godowns.”
Similar stories have unravelled in other areas of the district as well.