Has the festival of lights given way as Bollywood’s favourite release date to other holiday slots such as Eid and Republic Day?
Maratha Mandir, located in the heart of Mumbai, is well past its prime. Yet there is a sense of pride in the damp air in its premises. On a day when it’s raining heavily, the cinema hall is empty but the chandeliers are lit. With its cavernous interiors, grand staircase and a smell you only seem to find in old, single-screen theatres, it feels like a place frozen in time. The venue has become famous because Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), has been playing there since its release in October 1995. Jagjivan Maru, 67, the chief projectionist, remembers the opening day. While the audience danced in the aisles to Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna, the air outdoors was filled with the smoke of firecrackers. It was Diwali.
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