Giraj's Blogs

Three Theatres, Vipassana and Technical Errors!

Entertainment has been top of Delhi’s agenda this entire month. First there was this grand act of recreating K Asif’s Mughal-e-azam by Feroz Abbas Khan’s troupe at Jahawhar Lal Nehru stadium (not yet Deen Dayal Grounds!). Whoever went to watch it came back raving about the show’s grandeur, the music and its costumes – and that somewhat summed it up.

Now, with our man AK going in for long furloughs for practicing vipassana – there isn’t much to get excited about any which ways especially in these post-DeMo and post-GST times (No, there’s no economic slowdown but just a few technical errors that plague the indices). So there was this hullabaloo over the reopening of Chanakya Cinema rechristened as ‘The Chanakya’. Blame it on all the monuments that we co-exist with – we Dilliwalahs have a thing or two about nostalgia. The reopening got half the city’s population feeling nostalgic about how it was to watch movies at the old Chanakya – its side balconies, the foyer and those distinct exteriors (to this blogger it looked a Le Corbusier design – more apt to be in Chandigarh!). One just cannot get nostalgic about Chanakya in isolation – that Niruala’s eatery has to be a part of those memories. With those flowing greens, fancy round lamps and the Malaysian wood furniture – the joint sure had some character.

With so much happening on the cultural space in Delhi we felt Dilliwalahs could do with some suggestions on what to watch . So beginning with this post we are introducing StateOfDelhi Suggests. Now it is implausible that you will get suggestions to go watch David Dhawan’s Judwaa 2 for everything that comes back need not be good. We are also not likely to tempt you, at times such as these (we know you are all technical-error-affected!), to devour the nineteen course spread at that elitist Masala Library. However, we can guarantee of setting you up for some simple voyages in and around Delhi that are mostly city-specific and fun in one way or the other. Now, if you could believe in Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas – we are surely worthy of some trust too!

 StateOfDelhi Suggests that you take a trip to that industrial area in Okhla Phase 2 and check out the Black Box. It’s a factory that has been turned in to a theatrical performance arena. They haven’t camouflaged the factory setting completely but have ensured that you get transported to another world by some intelligent use of lighting once the act begins. So Dilliwalahs once you are done with nudging your teenage kids at Chanakya of how this used to be that – head to Okhla for a different experience. Come back and tell us about your experience for unlike the extremely popular Mann Ki Baat – StateOfDelhi is two-way communication channel and we are open to suggestions and we love your comments.


  1. True that Chanakya cannot be complete without Nirulas and also the gaming joint in the basement called Fantasia. BTW do AK’s furloughs have anything to do with the fact that there are less mosquitoes in NCR this monsoon ?

    1. He’s been after them in any case post Punjab & Goa debacle. And if less mosquitoes is the impact – then its effort that’s well directed that’s paying dividends!

    2. You mean to say he went searching for them?

  2. That’s a great idea Giraj… This initiative will surely help Dilliwalas to know more about Dilli…. By the way this factory turning in to a theater also spells about the ” State of Delhi ” and the announcement (not initiative) called “Make in India” …………

    1. Hahahaha! Now that’s some thought!

  3. As usual great stuff Goldy. Importantly, I enjoyed your tips on what to visit…..I have been only planning to visit these places for last few weeks. Perhaps would make a concerted attempt now

  4. Do not understand why should a movie hall, a place of entertainment should (continue) to be name Chanakya? Shakuntla was a more apt if the owners were big on mythology. If they wanted to be more innovative they could have named it Bijli Ghar.

    1. We had Shakuntalam at Pragiti Maidan and it used to screen many parallel cinema movies post their limited run at popular theatres plus many a classics too.

  5. Aahh Chanakya! And of course Nirula’s! Not so distant memories but then moving to “yamuna paar” makes it seem so. Really glad I’m back across now. I am an eternal optimist and somehow have a good feeling about “the state of Delhi”…

  6. Very insightful. Old dilliwalas are nostalgic about the broad roads, the greenery, roadside eating joints which had super specialisation and offcourse the warmth and spirit of never say die.

  7. Hi there! Such a good article, thank you!

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