Facades: Plaza (1935)
2-12/B, Foot of Tilak Bridge, Near Dadar Railway Station, Dadar.
All roads led north on 30th November 1935 for the gala opening of Plaza. A first- class cinema that had secured the second release rights for the best films premiering in Fort, Plaza brought the best of South Bombay to the suburbs. Not only did it save Dadar’s residents a long commute, it also offered a glare-free screen and a pleasant colour scheme. So, Plaza was no regular second run house, but a classy talkie cinema catering to the northern suburbs.
i. The Marathi Sisters
Plaza had a sister in South Bombay. Born a month later, Central at Charni Road was a two floor Deco wonder. Listed together in the local engagements section of the papers, screening Marathi movies by the late 1930s, sometimes simultaneously, Plaza and Central were close sisters. Central even added Plaza to her name and became Central Plaza!
Plaza catered to the Marathi residents of Dadar, Central to those of Girgaum. In the early years, ‘present-day problem pictures’ like Maza Mulaga (My Son) were a hit; in the 50s domestic dramas like Vahininchya Bangdya (Bhabhi’s angles) had a good run; and in the 1970s the tragicomedy Pinjara (Cage) broke all box office records, with its tale of an upright professor turned prisoner of passion.
For a local taste of shelter, flight and delight walk from Plaza to the Dadar Kabutarkhana, an iconic feeding ground and fountain for pigeons that was founded in 1933. Here you can be foot loose and fancy free, there is no fear of being caged or upstaged.