Investments by producers, well-wishers and actors have not succeeded in bringing audiences back to cinema theatres in Jhenaidah. This is forcing theatres, once a major source of entertainment, to shut down one after another. An estimated 17 cinema theatres out of 19 in Jhenaidah’s six upazilas, including the district headquarters, have closed down, leaving over 200 employees jobless.
Unattractive and unhealthy conditions, entertainment available on TV, smart phones and other forms of media, as well as a lack of good films, have reduced the cinema theatres to a pitiable state.
Priya Cinema, the lone theatre in Jhenaidah’s district town, is still running despite a dwindling number of viewers, while five others shut down a few years ago. The owners of Chhabighar, once the largest cinema theatre in the town, are constructing a multi-storied building after demolishing it. Sree Laxmi, a cinema theatre at Kaliganj in Jhenaidah, has been turned into business establishments.
Chhanda, another theatre at Kaliganj, is in a dire state. People associated with the theatre are financially suffering.
When contacted, Shariful Islam, one of the owners of Priya Cinema, said that theatres are one of the most important means of recreation for people of all walks of life.
He also said that he has been running his theatre to preserve a tradition, despite incurring losses every month. He further said that affluent people are establishing resort centres, children’s parks and other types of amenities with huge investments. Jhenaidah’s Deputy Commissioner, Saroj Kumar Nath, said that resorts are replacing cinema theatres as places of recreation today. He added that good films, suitable accommodations and resort-like facilities in the halls can help in reestablishing the popularity of cinema theatres.