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Entertainment:  Lugar theatre, the oldest cinema hall in Thimphu has reopened with a brand new look.

Her Royal Highness Pema Lhadon Wangchuck and dratshang’s Tsugla Lopon yesterday inaugurated the new theatre.

The new theatre has all the features of a new-age cinema and entertainment centre – foldable cushioned seats, full soundproof with LED lights, chandeliers and vibrant colours right from the entrance.

With the old structure still intact, the theatre has been redesigned and repainted, giving a fresher ambience to the visitors.

A new silver lenticular screen, on which motion pictures were originally projected, has been put up, which is again complemented by a powerful Panasonic digital cinema HD projector with Dolby’s 7.1 surround sound system to provide the best cinema viewing experience.

The theatre now has a total of 503 seats with an executive class on the upper tier. It also has a VIP box and a Royal box with separate lounge and bathroom.

The original home of entertainment in the capital is now all set to once again conquer the hearts and minds of movie buffs.

Businessmen Passang Tshering and Tshering Dorji took up the mammoth task of redesigning the theatre. The refurbishing works and procurement of equipment took about nine months with a total expenditure of Nu 20 million.

Proprietor of Pekhang Enterprise, Passang Tshering, said the Lugar theatre was built in the 1960s, which not only became the capital’s popular place of entertainment but also the destination of choice for movie lovers.

One of the oldest film projectors displayed at the Lugar theatre

One of the oldest film projectors displayed at the Lugar theatre

“The theatre stands as a social and cultural significance where many Bhutanese have a memory or more attached to it. One cannot help but feel nostalgic as one walks through the theatre. It was a means of communication and social interaction of that time,” Passang Tshering said.

All that changed with the arrival of Video Home System (VHS) tapes and then with DVDs, cable television and the internet revolution that hit Thimphu like the rest of the world, said Passang Tshering, adding that by the turn of the century, the theatre’s fortunes were drastically declining and ultimately had to be closed.

“Today, the theatre has come back to life. Without dismantling the charm, character and dignity of the old Lugar, it has been restored to its former splendour,” Passang Tshering said.

With the official opening of the theatre, night shows will be reintroduced with matinee shows on the weekends and government holidays. A professional team will manage the theatre.

“We will also encourage the screening of educational films, documentaries and short films in the mornings at subsidised concessional rates, initially on weekends and government holidays, and depending on the interest of producers and viewers, it may become a regular feature,” Passang Tshering said. “All these have been carried out with the primary objective to regain its lost glory and to make it the preferred choice of screening films where every Bhutanese will come to celebrate together.”

The new theatre will begin with the screening of Kinley Tshering’s Nga Kinley Choe Gi Superman today.

Thinley Zangmo

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