Sharjah South-Indians grounded as Concorde cinema shuts

Iconic cinema was a huge draw for South Indian expat families in the emirate

What was once a bustling, iconic landmark at Sharjah’s clock tower round-about, today wears an eerily deserted look.

There are no bright film posters lining the outer wall, nor a crowd queuing outside for movie tickets. The doors are locked, with only one employee supervising the last-minute clear-up.

“It has been 15 days since the shutters were pulled down,” explained ex-Concorde employee Mahmoud, who allowed us a peak into the isolated interiors.

The reason for the shut down, he elaborated was taken as the area, where the cinema hall stands, belonged to the adjacent Al Zahra hospital. “I don’t know what they are going to build here, but this is their land and they have the right to develop it the way they want.”

The last movie screening on June 30, Mahmoud reported was a huge affair with members of the Malayalam media fraternity and the cinema hall’s patrons coming together for one last show. “We had screened (Malayalam movie) ‘Diamond Necklace’ and even those who had watched it earlier came back, just to show their solidarity.”

Although Mahmoud is now without a job, he’s confident of finding another one soon. “I’ve been living in the UAE for over 15 years, so I am confident of finding something. There are so many theatres around,” he added, before hinting that if things can be worked out then chances are that Concorde cinema might be resurrected in another spot.

“There’s nothing in the pipeline yet, but there’s always a possibility. It’s too early to talk about it now.”

The closing down of Concorde cinema has hugely impacted the South Indian expat community, who’ve been frequenting this theatre for their favourite Indian movies.

“It’s really sad. I was so shocked when I heard the news. I’ve got such fond memories of Concorde. It’s been over 20 years, and we’ve always gone there for our family movie outings,” reminisced Sheila Nair.

“It’s a huge part of our childhood. We used to go there to watch Malayalam movies with our family. I can’t believe that this landmark has been erased… forever,” added another Malayali Sheetal.

“Concorde Cinema in Sharjah is closing down. :( Loads of movie memories... all gone!” tweeted another patron. “Where will I go to watch Malayalam movies now? This used to be our weekend hang-out. It was, in a way, our link to our homeland, and now that it has been erased we are lost,” added Mithun, a Concorde regular.

Mahmoud, however, informed that Malayalam movies will now be screened at other nearby cinemas in Sharjah. “The Star Cineplex, near Sharjah City Centre, and cinema hall at Mega mall will now show Malayalam movies,” he reported, before discussing, passionately, some of the latest Malayalam releases.

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