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The enduring charm of Yakut Mahal still rings nostalgic tunes

The enduring charm of Yakut Mahal still rings nostalgic tunes
Highlights

It is one of the oldest parts of the city that hides small treasures Yakuthmahal Talkies with its round pillars in beige is one such treasure that has been bringing joy in the faces of the people for over 80 years

Yakutpura: It is one of the oldest parts of the city that hides small treasures. Yakuthmahal Talkies with its round pillars in beige is one such treasure that has been bringing joy in the faces of the people for over 80 years. While several theatres have bitten the dust and could not survive the technology onslaught, Yakuthmahal Talkies has remained the same except that now it has been rechristened Yakut Mahal Deluxe.

The construction started in 1935 by Nawab Jafer Nawaz Jung, the cinema house was completed in 1938. What makes the entertainment house special is the projector room that still evokes the old charm. The roof, seats and the doors are still the same and old- timers still go for movies. While the aged rave about the movies that they saw along with their wives who of course had to sit in a separate area divided by the pardah, the youngsters of today could only imagine how it must have been then. Thanks to the affordable rates, the young too flock to Yakut Mahal.

The movie is showcased through two projectors, Peerless Magnarac Machine Projectors manufactured by J E McAuley of Chicago in the year 1927 and were installed in 1938. The projectors then were supplied only in Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras and Calcutta as these cities were famous for movie making and theatres. The projector is no more in use in any other states. M A Lateef Sharfan, owner of the cinema, says, “The digital sound system with six speakers in the back of the screen and 12 wall speakers in all corners of the hall are same as it was in 1930's.

The 547-seater theatre includes iron chairs for IInd class with 81 seats and ticket costing Rs 30, 247 seats for Ist class with ticket costing for Rs 50 and balcony with 192 seats with ticket costing Rs 70. After Nawaz Jung the theatre went to Laxmi Narayan Yadav and in 2005, M A Saleem & Sons took over. There used to be a separate box for dignitaries, the seventh Nizam also watched movies. The Nizam currency was also accepted. NTR, the former chief minister and actor and several prominent judges also used to watch movies at Yakuthmahal, Sharfan added.

Later, movies started coming in UFO, so the new system was installed in 2005, so there are two projectors running in theatre as per the movie print. The last time the reel projector was used was in 2012 for the movie EK Tha Tiger starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. Now all movies are in UFO, says Nageshwar Rao, an employee. Some employees have grown with the cinema hall. Aslam Abdullah who is 72-year-old working here since he was 5 years old, now he is in ticket counter section.

Md Rizwan, a resident of Yakutpura, says, “my grandfather used to watch movies and now I’am watching the movies in Yakuthmahal. There are interesting stories around Yakutmahal, locals say that during the movie Nagin, snakes from nearby would get into the cinema hall premises, such was the sound system.

BY M M Farooqui

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