Updated: Sep 18, 2020
The Filmistan was designed by the prolific Delhi-based firm of Master, Sathe & Kothari Associates, a practice formed by the architects Chimanlal Motilal Master, Laxaman Vishnu Sathe and Narendra K. Kothari. Planned as a compact unit for exhibition of films, the cinema is located on Rani Jhansi Road in Old Delhi
Narendra K. Kothari, the founder of Kothari & Associates, came as a bachelor at the age of 24 to Delhi from Mumbai as part of the architectural firm Master, Sathe and Bhuta. He became synonymous with the ‘Bombay style house’ wherein he built more than 40% houses on Pusa Road, Golf Links, Jor Bagh, Sundar Nagar, Diplomatic Enclave etc.
Chimanlal Motilal Master was one of the partners for the first all Indian-led architectural practice Master, Sathe and Bhuta. He was also actively engaged with the architectural department of J.J. School of Arts & served as the head of department from 1943-48
The cinema was shut down a few years back but at one point it was one of the busiest theatres in Delhi. This building totally stands out on a busy street with its ornamental and aerodynamic design of the vertical feature on the side, the bold curved edges, and the play of the subdued pastel orange with the bold blue contrasting with the white on the backside. The colour composition of the facade very well synthesises the interplay of the vertical and horizontal elements along with the playful small case typography. The dominant horizontality of the building borrows the the simplicity of the streamline moderne style.
Bollywood Showplaces : Cinema Theatres in India, Page 171 (David Vinnels, Brent Skelly, 2002)
Kothari & Associates website
Art Deco Mumbai website (Architects and firms that shaped Mumbai’s World Heritage Site)
The Indian Architect journal
Varun Shiv Kapur (Sarson ke Khet)