This was once one of Chennai's most popular cinemas, As you can see, it's now derelict and awaiting demolition.
Star Talkies is on Triplicane High Road - an area where traditionally Urdu rather than Tamil is the main language. It opened in 1916 as Cinema Popular and became Star Talkies twenty years later. The last movie was screened here in 2012, and the building is now slowly crumbling away.
When new Bollywood movies were released, this was the Chennai cinema which screened them first. It got a reputation as the place to go in the city for Hindi films. While other cinema halls were showing the Tamil blockbusters, Star Talkies focussed on non-Tamil films.
While I was taking these photos, a passer-by stopped to remark how he used to watch movies here. 'It's been killed by the internet', he said. 'More than thirty cinema halls across Chennai have closed because of the internet.'
Star Talkies was also famous for having what amounted to a zenana, a women-only seating area where local Muslim women would feel comfortable watching a movie.
I was talking to an elderly Chennai movie enthusiast who told me that she and a group of ladies from the fashionable part of town would often go to Star Talkies to see the new Bollywood releases. And when there were no general tickets available, they would get seats in the women-only area and watch as women came in wearing a burka, then removed it to watch the film, and put it back on before leaving.
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