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at the Frontiers of Cinema
CSCS - Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

Urvasi Complex, Vijayawada
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The Urvasi-Menaka twin theatre complex in Vijayawada was constructed in 1970-71. The two cinema halls were air-conditioned and Urvasi was equipped to screen 70mm films. No town or city in the state, other than the capital Hyderabad-Secunderabad, had such grand cinema halls till then. In the 1980s a mini theatre Rambha was added. Urvasi has been among the most expensive cinema halls for distributors to hire in the city. As a consequence of which only big budget films in Telugu, Hindi and English are screened here. The theatre's owners also own the distribution company Poorna Pictures, which has increasingly focussed on non-Telugu films. The complex has thus been something of a natural choice for the exhibition of the non-Telugu films distributed by Poorna Pictures. The complex is an example of the 'A circuit' of the exhibition sector. The changing fortunes of the Hong Kong action film can be assessed by its reduced visibility in A circuit cinema halls like Urvasi and Navrang.


Urvasi complex 2001. In what could well be an instance of the film industry's adherence to the 'three language formula' the complex was showing films in Telugu, Hindi and English at one time. The premises also house a popular canteen and a video games parlour, which are visited by customers independently of the films being screened here.
A board warning customers of pickpockets, whose photographs are on display. Show timings of the theatres in the complex is in the background.
Urvasi's air-conditioned lounge for the Balcony (the highest) class ticket holders. The lounge also has a canteen.

 
Glossy, standardized publicity for Crouching Tiger welcomes the Balcony class viewers An example of 'matter publicity' (text based publicity). In this instance the ten Oscar awards for which the film was nominated are listed. B. Mohan Rao, the General Manager of Poorna Pictures and Urvasi complex, is an old hand at promoting non-Telugu films. He is the likely source of this notice. D. Appa Rao, Manager of Urvasi. The framed photograph on the left is of G.K. Mangaraju, founder of Poorna Pictures, said to be the very first distributor in Andhra Pradesh.