Piccadily Theatre makes comeback as swanky multiplex
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The year 2009 was a turning point. A landmark was razed to the ground and the foundations were laid for the next generation of cine-goers and shoppers. One of the top cinemas of its time, Piccadily Theatre in Sector 34, has finally risen from the ashes and stands tall as the Piccadily Square. The roads to it bear a familiar feel. With every turn unfolds an old memory, washed in Eastman colour, strung in timeless songs, drowned in the roar of the applause and whistles, doused in the oil-soaked smells of samosa, popcorn and Coca Cola - Piccadily's silver screen had an enviable charm in its single days.
A grand opening saw Shakti Samanta's film Charitraheen come to life on its screen in 1974. The crowds couldn't get enough of Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore, reminisces its chairman, Sham Sunder Sharma. As opposed to DT City Centre, Fun Cinemas and Centra Mall, the Piccadily Square is the first mall to come up within the city. The Jagat and KC malls are still awaited. The new compound strikes out with its filmi poster - 'Return of the Tricity Star'.
A straight lined contemporary structure, it houses three auditoriums and can hold a crowd of 955 in total. The vacant ground and first floor shall soon be buzzing with shops and exclusive brands outlets, food court and restaurants. The top floor has a gym and a swimming pool, informs the general manager, Vineet Sablok.
Sharma, who has retained all the old staff in the cinemas and his resorts, recently opened a single screen cinema in Manali too. While more escalators could have been installed, the parking woes have been addressed with a three level basement parking and one on the ground exclusively for Piccadily Square. "We ran Hum Aapke Hain Kaun for one whole year here, and we were the first to install the Bose system during our renovations in 1996. That year we ran James Cameron's Titanic, and for the first time, Punjab saw a collection of Rs 32 lakh from a Hollywood film, the highest ever," tells Sharma. "I started my career with Piccadily in '96, and my team set up the first computerised ticketing system in this theatre in the city," recalls Rajiv Minhas, who has joined back as Head, Cinema Operations.