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Bambino cinema rises from the ashes

October 26, 2012


People watching first movie at Bambino Cinema after its renovation in Karachi. Bambino Cinema destroyed and burnt down by angry protesters during a demonstration.—PPI Images

KARACHI: Showing steely resilience, the Bambino cinema will resume functioning on the first day of Eid (Oct 27), showcasing an Indian and a Pakistani film.

Bambino was one of those cinema houses that were set on fire during protests against an anti-Islam film on Sept 21.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Bambino CEO Adeel Imtiaz said that after a span of a little more than a month, the cinema was readied for film screening on Eid. He lamented that the government did not lend any support whatsoever in that regard and remarked, “We did not even receive a phone call from them.”

Funds were generated and the facility was restored so that the masses could be entertained, he explained.

He said Indian film ‘Rush’ would be shown on Eid along with Pakistani movie ‘Sher Dil’ (at Scala). He told journalists that only that part of the cinema hall had been restored where the public would come and watch films. The façade was yet to be taken care of because the damage was so severe that it would need a year or two for a full recovery. He said soon Capri cinema would also restart showing films.

Replying to a question about the financial damage, Mr Imtiaz said it was in tens of millions of rupees. He claimed between five and six million rupees had so far been spent on restoring the cinema.

On the issue of security, he argued it was the government responsibility to make sure that the cinema house remains unharmed.

He recalled that when a mob arrived, the law-enforcement agencies disappeared from the site leave alone cinema workers.

However, he informed the media, this time round steps were taken (such as installation of metal detectors) to keep a check on miscreants. He said he’d also sent a letter to a nearby police station for security.

Responding to a query about government apathy, Mr Imtiaz said it was Hakim Ali Zardari who established the facility and Z.A. Bhutto inaugurated it. So the current president of the country had fond memories of Bambino, which made it all the more relevant for him to do something about it, he said. He emphasised that if the cinema house became a victim of vandalism again, it would be unbearable for them to recover from it.