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June 19, 2020

Cinema being converted into art plaza

Lahore

June 19, 2020

LAHORE:Moving a step forward and taking the performing and visual arts to the next level, the owners of the historical Plaza Cinema, one of the oldest and much acclaimed cultural assets to the city, which was constructed back in 1933 and originally known as “Sagar Theatre,” is being converted into an Art Plaza.

Jahanzaib Baig, the young and vibrant owner of the cinema told The News that he had been working on a new concept in the wake of very difficult times being confronted by the cinema industry in Pakistan. With commercial and financial considerations also in mind, he was, predominately, having the modern vision for this very historic asset. Not disturbing its basic design, some modern features are being given to the old structure which included, cutting the size of the halls and some other areas while keeping the façade, the front look, is now redesigning it for future use purely to house performing and visual arts related activities. There will be dance, yoga class and an art gallery in this proposed art plaza.

Jahanzaib said that the front look would remain the same with a little improvement i.e. size cut. He maintained “We have hired the best architect. Some monumental pieces, preserving the original pieces i.e. the violin guy, the wooden doors, original wooden dancing halls will be recreated in smaller sizes. Overall cinemas were in a decline but more so, as owners of Plaza Cinema, we have consciously made efforts to retain, preserve and promote cinema and related art branches. For example, the place was twice made digital. We also tried a performance studio and art gallery but nothing worked due to an overall slump in the cinema industry.

Now, bringing it on a par with the latest trends we are turning it into an art plaza.” Plaza Cinema located on Queens Road Lahore was among the first pre-partition theatres and is still classed as one of the most beautiful buildings of Lahore. After partition, Sagar Theatre was converted into Plaza Cinema in 1985. Two decades ago, the hall was among the most popular, family-friendly places; especially for cinema-goers and theatre lovers. The hall holds around 700 people. However, due to the crisis within the Pakistani film industry, the cinema was unable to hold any screenings. As a result, it was shut down in 2017.