The quiet end of a classic cinema
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Indian national Basheer Abdurahman, 45, has been living in Sharjah for 24 years. An automobile mechanic by profession, Abdurahman’s night routine during the weekend was dinner at the Karachi Darbar restaurant near his house and a late-night movie at Concorde Cinema in Rolla.
“I would watch just about any movie playing at the cinema. It didn’t matter if it was good or bad,” said Abdurahman. He glanced wistfully at the now closed shutters of the theatre and said: “I am a hard worker and for people like me, there are very few venues of entertainment in the city. I left my hometown in Kerala 24 years back. The movie theatre reminded me a little bit of my home. Now since they’ve shut it down, I don’t think I will be watching movies anymore.”
The theatre has also undergone several makeovers in the many years of its existence. There was a time when Concorde played Hollywood movies, but in the recent times, the theatre predominantly played host to South Indian movie titles. The last movie screened at the cinema was Malayalam move ‘Diamond Necklace’ on June 30.
For South Indian expatriates, the shutting down of the cinema was a big blow.
Another resident of Sharjah Robin Mathew, 25, who was born and raised in Sharjah, said: “I saw my first movie in Concorde. I remember it very clearly. I must have been seven or eight then. My dad took me for a Malayalam cult classic called ‘Chithram’. I still watch that movie every now and then. The place holds a lot of good memories.”
Another resident Shermeen Kumar, 26, said: “Everything has a shelf life. Movie theatres are no exception to that rule. What is really sad is that the concepts of big multiplexes are taking over old theatres. Movie theatres are no more iconic landmarks of a city. You will only have multiplexes attached to big shiny shopping malls.”
Resident of Dubai Sneha Menon said her now two-and-a-half-year-old baby saw his first movie in Concorde. “I moved to the UAE in 2010. Visiting the theatre was a weekend routine for us. Personally, I was quite upset when I heard that they were shutting it down,” said Menon. She added: “Location-wise, it was a convenient spot as well. What made the theatre a special place is that I ended up meeting a lot of my old friends and acquaintances whom I knew from back home at the theatre. Because the cinema was so popular among Malayalee expatriates, we’d just end up bumping into each other there.”
Since Concorde has shut down, Star Cineplex near Sharjah City Center and Grand Mega Mall has been showing South Indian movie titles.