Lugar Theatre has a unique place in the history of our capital city, Thimphu. Many elders and adults may have many fond memories of the cinema hall, which may have been the only place for modern entertainment available in the 1960s. Perhaps, the theatre is a true witness to the change we Bhutanese are experiencing and also a reflection of how far we have come as nation.
Our youth today must know that there was a time in Thimphu that the two most popular entertainments that enthused people were: His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo playing basketball in the evening at Changlimithang and; watching a movie at the Lugar theatre – matinee, evening and night shows.
To a great extent, as most watched were hindi movies, the typical story of a poor, honest and hardworking person ultimately becoming rich, powerful and happy, could have influenced many Bhutanese including the youth then. Hindi film dialogues and songs were common, which must have helped us in doing business with our immediate neighbour, India and while travelling through the country on other occasions.
One drastic change would be the shift in people’s taste from others to Bhutanese movies, which at that point of time we had none and appeared like a dream to have one of our own. Today, one of the major success stories of our development is our local film and music industries. Hats off to all those involved!
Now Lugar will see a sea change in its audiences and its surroundings. There is no affordability issue with tickets; where once the majority had problems taking out one Ngultrum for a ticket, today, most have no problem of Nu 100 and mingle with the elites and the seniors. The pride, prestige and the distinction of being in the balcony class it once saw may not be even possible today unless reserved.
Lugar will miss most of the young audience as they are now engaged in modern devices and television sets that even parents are facing difficulty to separate them.
The theatre would also find itself in the midst of a concrete jungle packed with cars, whereas, even in the 1980s it was a treat for the eyes to spot a car.
Being at the centre of the town, Lugar theatre has the opportunity to regain its past glory and bring people from all walks of life together.
Therefore, every citizen must know and share the changes witnessed by Lugar Theatre to our younger generations so that one day, even though many of them were not born then, they would understand the hard work, sacrifices and achievements of the past and continue the legacy.