June 2, 2011
When I was a kid, sometimes on hot summer days my abuelito and I would drive in his big American car to Cine Elizondo in the middle of the day and watch movies. I remember seeing westerns, Santo movies, and American films like Herbie the Love Bug dubbed in Spanish. I loved the everything about those days, but the theater made everything extra-special. The air was cold and theater was spectacular, covered in dragons and golden temples. Audiences were loud and enthusiastic and they clapped at the end of each movie. Years later I would visit Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood only to be disappointed by it's relative plainness. I had been ruined.
The Elizondo was torn down in the 80's. Hearing about it from my dad who also loved that theater, I remember thinking it was the end of an era. I thought I would never again experience a movie like that. But then years later I found myself in India, again on a hot day. The food was a little different (samosas and vada), but there was the cool, the fantastic decoration, and the sense that you were experiencing something special.
Zubin Pastakia has been photographing Bollywood movie palaces which it seems are again being destroyed. The pictures make me nostalgic for places I've never seen.