Sarker Shariful Islam
Upohar- the only remaining cinema hall of the city, ceased its operation on the plea of incurring loss. The three other cinema halls- Bornali Cinema Hall, Kalpana cinema Hall and Aloka Cinema Hall stopped functioning decades ago and commercial complexes have been built there by demolishing those.
It is learnt, Aloka Cinema Hall, the oldest cinema hall of the city was established in Rajshahi during the end of the British rule. The hall was established on the property of Rajshahi Association, an old organisation run by a committee headed by Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi. But, the hall was demolished during the early ninety and a commercial complex including a restaurant have been built there. While the Kalpona cinema hall, later on named as Utsob, was also demolished couples of years after the demolition of Aloka and a commercial complex including housing and banks have been set up there.
Some 20-year ago the Bornali Cinema Hall was also purchased by an NGO known as Islamic Trade and Commerce Limited (ITCL). After purchasing it, the hall was demolished. But, just after the demolition, the government banned the activities of ITCL and the space where the cinema hall used to be established remained empty now.
However, with the declaration of closure of activities of Upohar cinema hall, cultural activities and people from various spheres of life observed various programmes demanding to continue operation of the hall. But, defying all those programmes and demands, demolition of the hall has been started from Monday last. With the demolition of last remaining cinema hall, no more cinema hall is in operation in the city now. The cinema lovers of the city, however, have expressed their disappointment at the closure and demolition of the hall.
Ahsan Kabir Lition, Convener of Rittik Ghotok Film Society in Rajshahi informed, it was pity that the there will be not a single cinema hall in the city where the great film maker, director and producer like Rittok Ghotok was born and brought up. The move was a pity, disappointing and painful. Considering all sorts of spectators of all kinds, he demanded to built a new cinema hall in the city.
Meanwhile, during inauguration of Rittik Ghotok Film Festival on Sunday evening, Mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said, only one cinema hall among four remained in operation in the city. But, that last one was also closed. He said, he would consider whether new cinema hall can be built and operated in the city in near future.
It is learnt, in 1974, a new cinema hall named Snigdha was established at Kadirganj area of the city. In 1985, the ownership of the cinema hall was changed and the hall took the new name Upohar. At the mid night of October-11, the operation of the hall was ceased after exhibiting the film’ Nekab’. The hall authorities, however, informed after demolishing the cinema hall, a commercial complex entitled ‘Upohar complex’ will the built there. As per the plan, demolition of the hall has been started from Sunday last. On Monday, the tin- roof of the hall has been removed, the walls were also being demolished with hammer. At the front side of the hall, a sign is being exhibited as ‘Upohar Commercial Complex.’