Memories of 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' at Darpan Cinema House - Vishal Jaiswal ‘Darpan Cinemaghar’, Barabanki

Cinema has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. Due to this change, good films are not being produced. So continued the plight of single theatres. In the last 5 years, many single theaters across the country were closed.

By Bollyy
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'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' at Darpan Cinema House
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Cinema has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. Due to this change, good films are not being produced. So continued the plight of single theatres. In the last 5 years, many single theaters across the country were closed. After the Covid pandemic, the situation became much worse. Movies are continuously failing at the box office. As a result, multiplexes across the country are also running in losses. While single theaters are getting closed.

Barabanki's Cinematic Decline: The Closure of Theaters

Chhaya Chitragrih, Rajkamal Theater, and Darpan Cinema were three single theaters in Barabanki city of Barabanki district adjacent to Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, which are now closed. Even the more than fifty years old “Darpan Theatre” has been closed. At present, the people of Barabanki have no option left except to go to Rudauli or Lucknow to watch the film. Whereas for the people here, going to Lucknow or Rudauli to watch a movie for entertainment is nothing but a huge waste of time and money. Due to this now the residents here are completely dependent on OTT and TV for entertainment.

Barabanki's Cinematic Decline: The Closure of Theaters

Regarding this entire scenario, we had a long conversation with Vishal Jaiswal, owner of “Darpan Theatre” of Barabanki city, about the continuous closure of single theatre, the compulsion to close down “Darpan Cinema” etc…

You people have been associated with cinema for more than fifty years, you also have your own 'Darpan' cinema hall in Barabanki. Can you tell us what the condition of the cinema in Barabanki is? When did your ‘Darpan’ cinema start?

- We are natives of Barabanki city. Our Darpan Cinema here was started on 11 April 1973. But around 1966, its foundation was laid by my father Late Balraj Singh Jaiswal Ji. But due to some reasons, this cinema hall could not be started at that time. Then my father Mr. Surendra Kumar Jaiswal Ji further got it built and completed it and then it probably started with the screening of the film 'Pakeezah' in 1973.

Your Babaji might have started it for business purposes.

- Business may also have been the motive. But there is a story behind it. My grandmother was very fond of watching films. When he started having problems with his legs, it became painful for him to go to Lucknow to watch a film. Then my Babaji jokingly told him not to worry, I will build a cinema hall here for you. The conversation was in jest, but he became obsessed with building a cinema hall. Well, in those days the cinema business was quite profitable.

Apart from 'Darpan', there were other cinema halls in Barabanki. Would there be competition among themselves?

- Yes! Chhaya Chitragrih, Rajkamal Theater, and Hamara Darpan Cinema were three single cinema halls. Which have closed since Covid. There was a lot of competition among us, due to which we used to get very expensive films. Therefore, all three of us sat down and brainstormed amongst ourselves and found a way to end this competition. We 'pooled' that we would bring the film only once and will release it in our theaters one by one so that there is no competition among ourselves. This ‘pool’ system continued from 1976 to 2016. After that ‘Chhaya Chitrapatgrih’ was closed. ‘Rajkamal Theatre’ also closed in 2018. Our ‘Darpan Cinemaghar’ was also closed due to COVID-19. At present there is no cinema hall in Barabanki. Now the people of Barabanki are left with the only option of going to Lucknow to watch movies.

After that, which other film was released in 'Darpan'?

- Ever since I regained consciousness, films like 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', and 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' have registered a lot of success. The era of cinema has been changing. Sometimes she used to play action films. Then the era of romantic films started. When the era of video cassettes and VCRs came, the cinema business declined. After 1994, the cinema business again started reaching heights. Every film was first shown in Mumbai and Delhi only. It used to take a lot of time for films to reach Barabanki here. For example, take the film “Hum Aapke Hain Koun”. This film was released on 5 August 1994, but it was released in our Darpan theaters after twenty-five months on 5 September 1996. There was so much demand for this film among the audience that we were not able to get it. It was the era of reels. Ultimately, after a lot of hard work, we got this film only after 25 months. Let us tell you that at that time we got this film for thirty-two and a half thousand rupees.

Darpan Cinema in the city Barabanki

I had seen this phase for the first time in my life when people used to come in trolleys and tractors to watch the movie “Hum Aapke Hain Koun” in our ‘Darpan’ cinema house. After entertaining themselves by watching a movie, they used to sit in the lobby of the cinema hall and go back after eating and drinking. The craze of this film was something I had never seen in any other film.

Was ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ successful in your theaters from the very first day?

- Yes! The interesting story is that in those days, movie tickets were sold in black. When the film 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun' was shown here, the ticket sellers in black bought tickets in bulk from the ticket window. But there were no spectators. That day was Janmashtami. People were engaged in worship in the morning. So I had a Housefull board put up, but when the first i.e. Noon Show started, there were no spectators inside the hall. More than half the hall was lying vacant. While Blackier had the tickets in his hand. But the night show went quite well. The film ran well on Saturday, September 6 also. But from Sunday, September 7, the film started breaking success records in our theatres. And the film ran at our place for a full twenty-five days. People used to come with their entire families to watch this film. People from 'A' class families in the city also used to come, they could not get tickets, so they used to sit in the front seats and watch the movie. It was a family film, and watching it the audience used to remember the old film 'Nadiya Ke Paar'. Due to the love story and newness in it, even the young generation was feeling connected. The music of this film was also very much liked. Before ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’, there was a strong emphasis on action films, due to which the whole family did not come to watch the film. But with the family film ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, the audience again started coming to the theaters to watch the film. So the credit for providing vibrancy to theaters goes to 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun'.

Hum Aapke Hain Koun

After this, where did the change in cinema come from?

- 'Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun', Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' played an important role in changing the era of cinema. The era of family films started from here. When the government policy changed and 'Foreign Direct Investment' started coming into the film industry, then a new era of cinema began. Not only this, Hrithik Roshan's films 'Krrish' and 'Koi Mil Gaya' had a huge contribution in giving new life to the cinema business due to 'Foreign Direct Investment'. These films did a business of Rs 100 crores. Modernization of cinema halls started from here. Facilities started being developed and provided within a single screen. I think the concept of ‘multiplex’ also started after that.

Which film made 'Darpan' cinema the highest grosser?

- Earnings were made from different films in every era. Let me tell you that my father used to say that a film by Manoj Kumar was released – “Kranti”. Our father had expressed in 'Darpan' about this film that the audience would rush to watch this patriotic film. But this film was not getting any audience in Barabanki. Then my father and the owner of Chaya Chitragrih sat and discussed. And it was decided that when the film 'Kranti' would be shown, coins should be tossed by its staff on the song of the film. After that, during the noon show, our father got the coins tossed on the song 'Chana Kurmura..' from 'Kranti' in the 'Darpan' cinema hall. This gave tremendous publicity to the film. After that, we were earning well from this film. Apart from this, we earned a lot from 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', and 'Krrish'. Barabanki is a Muslim-dominated city, so on the occasion of Eid, every film of Salman Khan has been earning well. Then the change came that the running of films became dependent on holidays. My father used to say that in 1975, a religious film 'Jai Santoshi Maa' was released, at that time people used to perform Aarti on every show. Spectators used to bring lamps made from their homes. All the female spectators first performed the curtain aarti, after which the movie started. His business was very extraordinary. Similarly, a film 'Hari darshan' was released, at that time the Brahmin community here used to come in groups.

Hari Darshan Movie: Review | Release Date (1972) | Songs | Music | Images |  Official Trailers | Videos | Photos | News - Bollywood Hungama

So did you guys adopt different methods to promote the film?

The basic method remained mouth publicity. Then we used to give small advertisements in the local newspapers here. Then we started campaigning by playing drums and making announcements through mikes on rickshaws. Kinnars also used to promote the films shown in our cinema hall by playing songs on the streets and in the market and telling people about which and what kind of films were shown in the 'Darpan' cinema hall. We used to pay money to eunuchs for this. Then they started printing and distributing pamphlets. Then we started showing cut-out dialogues or scenes from the film in audio and video publicity. Now there is no need for advertising. Now people come to know automatically through social media.

How was the change brought about by the screening of films?

Earlier, there was an era of reels, when movies were shown on screens through projectors. Now it has become digital. Films were not released for a long time in between. Films started releasing again in 2007. This became easier because of digital. When there were reels, we had to take a print which cost us Rs 75 thousand and this print got spoiled after three to four months. But due to digital, it became possible to release the film in every small town.

When films were released through reels, carbons of negatives and positives were used. At that time there were two projectors, and the process of changing the projectors went on every fifteen to twenty minutes. When a projector broke down, there would be a gap of one minute, then the audience had to face resentment. If there was a power failure in the middle, the spectators would vandalize the seats in our cinema hall and cause damage.

Now more films are being made. Despite this, why are single theaters being closed?

Earlier, there was a 150 percent entertainment tax in Uttar Pradesh, which later came down to 60 percent. Now after the arrival of GST, it has become 18 and 28 percent. It used to be difficult to run a cinema hall also due to taxes. Piracy of films also had an impact. Now theaters are facing losses due to OTT. Apart from this, good films are not being made like before. Secondly, the area of a single theater is much larger than that of a multiplex. Single-screen theaters have seating arrangements for six hundred to thousand spectators, while multiplexes have seating arrangements for 100 to 250 spectators. Due to this, the cost of maintenance and property tax of single-screen theaters is also very high. The arrival of multiplexes has also divided the audience.


See, the interest in watching movies among the audience has not ended. There were many ups and downs in our business. Even in the era of video and VCR, there was no such situation that theaters had to be closed. But the films being made now do not have the same story as before. Now you say that your hero is traveling in a plane, his office is going on in the plane itself... etc., etc. You are showing this, the common audience is not able to relate to this. Our Hindi films have moved away from ground reality. Such films are being released whose story has no roots. Family is not visible. As a result, the audience does not feel connected with the films. Filmmakers like Sooraj Barjatya, Yash Chopra, Karan Johar, Subhash Ghai, etc. are not making the kind of films they used to make earlier. Now ‘no brainer’ films are being made.

What were the circumstances that forced you to close 'Darpan Cinemaghar' after fifty years?

- Our cinema hall was running till Covid. Audiences came to watch the film at 'Darpan Cinemaghar' till 18 March 2020. Then the lockdown was imposed and the cinema hall was closed, it has been closed since then. During the lockdown, people started watching movies on OTT while sitting at home. After the end of COVID-19, such films did not come and the audience was eager to go to the theatre. For this reason, it is still closed. But now we are working on a plan to convert it into a multiplex.

You are fond of films. So what kind of movies do you watch?

- I like romantic and educational films. Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Shahrukh Khan, and Salman Khan are my favorite actors. I like Aamir Khan's film 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar', Shahrukh Khan's 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na' and Salman Khan's film 'Maine Pyar Kiya'.


 -Shantiswarup Tripathi


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