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Hong Kong Action Film
at the Frontiers of Cinema
CSCS - Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

Navrang, Vijayawada
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In 1964 Shahenshah Mahal in Vijayawada, constructed in 1952 and the venue of drama performances, was renovated and named Navrang. Navrang theatre reopened in 2003 after an eight year long closure. During this period the theatre was bought over by Bhoopal Prasad, whose family had held the lease for it between 1964 and 1995. According to a reliable source, four million rupees were spent on renovating Navrang, which had a reputation for being one of the best managed cinema halls in the city. A large part of its reputation rested on the stringent measures adopted to discipline the audience. According to a former manager of the cinema hall, noisy viewers were asked to behave themselves and if they failed to comply, the ticket cost was refunded and they were asked to leave. Black marketers were awarded summary corporal punishments. As early as 1970 it became air-conditioned. Between 1964 and 1995 Navrang screened mostly English films (and almost never screened Telugu films) and was patronized by the middle class, students in particular. Between them, Urvasi complex and Navrang screened a majority of the Hong Kong films in Vijayawada. The career of Hong Kong action film actually began in Navrang, which screened Enter the Dragon in 1977. The theater also screened Sholay, which reportedly had a 25-week run here.

The approach road to Navrang is lined with shops selling automobile accessories September 2003. Navrang reopens with Tagore (V.V. Vinayak), one of the year's biggest films.
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
Gound floor: Entrance to the projector room (left), Booking counter for the Balcony Class (centre), and entrance to the first and second classes (right)
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
First Floor: The Balcony class entrance. Also on this floor is the proprietor's office.
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
View from the screen.
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
View from the Balcony.
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
Balcony class seats.
(Source: Bhoopal Prasad)
Proprietor Bhoopal Prasad with a momento from the distributor Suchitra Films for the successful 50 day run of Operation Condor in Navrang.