Udupi: Geethanjali theater leaves behind fond memories

Harshini Brahmavar
Pics: Umesh Marpalli
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi

Udupi, Apr 28: One of the city’s well-known landmarks, Geethanjali theatre, stopped screening films on April 10. It has come as a jolt to the locals, especially senior citizens who have many pleasant memories of their youth associated with the theatre .

Decades ago, all theatres in the area were controlled by the TMA Pai Group, Manipal. After that, late Vidhyavarinidhi Theertha Swami of Kaniyur Math succeeded in getting this theatre in hand after a six-month struggle over a court stay order. The late Dr V S Acharya was the chairman of the Manipal Group then.

It is difficult to say when exactly the first movie was released but one can safely say it was about four decades ago. The first film was released by Gurumatha Films Bangalore and the next was the film ‘Sare’.

Now there are four single screen theatres remaining in Udupi city - Alankar, Kalpana, Diana, and Ashirvada, besides the new multiplex theatre INOX in Manipal. Geethanjali was a centre of entertainment for migrant workers. They used to come on weekends with their families to geethannjali.

Writer Muralidhar Upadhyaya said, “It was a good place for people of North Karnatakato to relax. Geethanjali served spectators by screening quality movies at cheap rates. It was a delightful spot for the labour class. But in the era of technology, everybody can watch movies at home or go to luxury theatres.”

Nithyananda Olakadu opined, “They should not have done this because it was a landmark for tourists. This theatre had a four decade long history. About 15 years ago, Kaniyur Math leased it to Vasanth Nayak. But due to the lack of maintenance, they failed to keep up the standard. Now the Math has paved the way for construction of a commercial mall in the heart of the city on lease."

The place was a convenient landmark for tourists and locals alike especially being close to the city bus stand.

The demolition work started a week ago and soon the iconic theatre will go down in the annals of history.


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Comment on this article

  • Kumar Gopalan, Brisbane

    Sun, Nov 29 2015

    I am writing a book which describes life of a woman in Udupi/Manipal in the 80s. I would like to know in which theatre the movie "Guna Nodi Hennu Kodu" was screened then? Which year? Also, a list of popular tiffin houses that existed then. Thanks for the assistance.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Dayanand Bangera, Katapady / ABu Dhabi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    My first movie in this theatre was "LAVA KUSHA" in my school days...those days it was no.1 in udupi due to new construction.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Langoolacharya., Belman/Washington,DC.

    Tue, Apr 28 2015


    I saw many movies there in late 70's and early eighties..matinees were always house full at that time...

    Sanadi Appanna, Nanobba Kalla, Chalisuva Gadigalu sorry Modagalu what not...

    This theater was first built as marriage hall and then converted as theater...their competitors Manipal Pai's did their best to stop this theater and I believe went till Supreme Court to stop the shows unsuccessfully...

    There were colourful stories about owner late Kaniyur Swami floating around at that time...

    Any way I feel sad this theater is no more...


    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Udupi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    What I don't understand is that there are a couple of people who simply press DISAGREE button for no reason whatsoever!. Many comments are well written and just on the topic but I see 1-3 disagree's. Atleast if they tell in reply what they disagree would help others to understand what they mean!. Otherwise we can simply say that they are.........

    DisAgree [8] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajarama Shetty, Beloor

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Yes John. You are Right. I have narrated an incident that happened to me. There are 10 disagrees. What actually they disagree I don't know. I think it is better to cancel that feature by Daiji. If anybody want to put their opinion, Lt them Reply. Otherwise let them simply keep quiet. Why this un-understandable "DISAGREE". For what sake ?

    DisAgree [4] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • MANU, Udupi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I had watched my first 'A' certified malayalam movie here in 1979. I was in high school. Now a days you can see those scenes in TV serials far worst.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • ramachandra m, udupi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I have watched innumerable films here. It is a sad end to a great theatre.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Frederick Saldanha, Udupi/Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    If the reporter does not remember the 1st movie shown, it was Kannada Movie KULA Gowrawa Staring Raj Kumar. Same day Alankar Theater was also opened with Kannada iconic Movie Bangarada Manushya..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rashmi, Udupi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Its sad the theatre is no more. But on the other side, its nice too cz that area is alwz crowded with labour class drunkards on street hayward n not worried bout the roads, people or anything else... If Mall comes up or an commercial center comes up, the area looks better.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • RSRB, Kundapura / Singapore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Sampoorna Ramayana movie was screened in this theatre....
    We all went to this movie as the school arranged for a special show for its children....

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Shradanjali to Geethanjali...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    RIP ..Gitanjali Chitramandira
    Sorry Bijapur na janare..

    DisAgree [6] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.S.SHETTY-LONDON, Ambalpady- Udupi

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    wow ! Sad and good news ! Good news is that at least re-development is kicking off since building is too old i believe and need a strength and shape , i am sure developer will keep in mind that new mall will have new Geethanjali theater with modern facility , so that people still have their found memories and visit the place regularly to watch the movi. i watched lot of movies too and I have gone to the marriage function of my relative Ravi raj shetty- Panjithoor Gutu- Kaup in late 80's era ! lets see how the mall will be developed ! G luck

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/B'lore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Geethanjali theater had really enhanced the popularity and the fame of Udupi.Really sad to know that the theater activity has stopped now.Hope the new building will bear the name Geethanjali to recollect the past glory.

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I believe this theater was started somewhere in the year 1975. We were studying in MGM college,Kunjibettu during the period 1973 to 1978.When ever there was no lecture we used to come to this theater to watch films as it was close to our college.Some times we used to bunk lectures to see First show.Krishnaraj Pai used to manage tickets for us. Mr.Gilbert Lewis,Shreedhar Ganiga,Krishnaraj Pai,Laxman shetty were our group members.Really those were the days.College life was real fun.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • S.M. Nawaz Kukkikatte, Dubai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    No doubt "Geethanjanli" one the most popular landmark in Heart of Udupi city

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • PRAKASHA MULKI, mulki/kulai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I was living in Udyavara in those days when GEETHANJANI theater was opened. I still remember having watched movies like, NAGARA HAAVU, PRAN JAYE PAR VACHAN NA JAYE etc. I had a good feeling attachment with the theater. I feel very sorry for that the theater has stopped show.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter Lewis, Kalmady/k s a

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Hope the name will be same for the new bldg.

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajarama Shetty, Beloor

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I have not seen any Movie in this Theatre. But I remember an accident happened to me in front of this Theatre when I am in 6th Standard.

    I am writing this because I am survived on that day.

    I am a village boy not exposed to city at that time. During that period, Shows start only in afternoon and in the Morning Theatres are rented for marriage functions like in many theatres.

    No Meals in marriage but we receive only "Totte" of sweets and Bajal to drink.

    I have gone to the marriage function of my relative Nirmala Shedthy, D/o. Nadoor Govinda Hegde along with relatives in a special bus arranged from brides house at Kedoor to this Geetanjali.

    My Uncle told me to bring Bananas to small children. I went to purchase in a nearby shop. I came running after taking banana and I don't know the road rules. A lamby Scooter hit me and I was kicked by its hit and I fell 2 to 3 meters away. All banana in my hand were crushed.

    Later that shop owner lifted me up and put iodex to wounds and Scooter wala purchased Fresh bananas for me. I gave to Uncle and next day I have heavy fever and I can't fold my hands and legs.

    Oh.... Geetanjali... Now the news of your Charamanjali...

    DisAgree [11] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr. Madhyastha. H, Balkudru

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Wah, I still remember those old days in 1970`s. I saw Rajkumar starer BEDARA KANAPA in this theater with my father, mother and grand mother. Nostalgic. But this place still may haunts the bus passengers stop as gethanjali talkies

    DisAgree [1] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Willy, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Yes fond memories will always remain. All things on this earth will pass and fade away, so also human being. Its up to the people to keep these memories cherished for a many more years.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Geet Gaaya Pattharon Ne ...

    DisAgree [24] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Naru, Bailur

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    what is the meaning of this sentence

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alex, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Stones are singing, present condition.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Naru, The sound of crashing stone is music to our ears ...

    DisAgree [25] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse


Title : Udupi: Geethanjali theater leaves behind fond memories


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