Albert Theatre in Egmore, Chennai was sealed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), on Thursday, owing to non-payment of property and entertainment taxes. However, it was later reopened after the owners paid the outstanding dues.
One of the oldest and most prominent stand-alone cinema halls in the city, the 38-year-old theatre was sealed by corporation authorities on the last day of the financial year. The move was made as per the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919 as the management had failed to pay the property tax amounting to Rs 51,27,252. Moreover, the owners also owed entertainment tax dues of Rs 14 lakh.
After sealing the premises, the civic body had put a poster on the gates of Albert Theatre mentioning the reason for shutting the complex.
A few hours after the news broke, Silverscreen India got in touch with an official from the Revenue and Finance department of the Chennai Corporation. The official confirmed the news but added that the theatre owners had paid the outstanding tax dues and the cinema hall was to be unsealed shortly.
Albert Theatre was opened on October 24, 1984. It is named after its founder, S Albert, who is also the establishment’s managing director. The cinema hall has two screens, Albert and Baby Albert, and is considered to be one of the most iconic movie complexes in the city. The establishment has catered to film enthusiasts for nearly four decades and has introduced modern facilities like online booking, parking, air-conditioned screens, and canteens over time.
While the cinema hall only played Hindi films at the beginning, with Aaj Ki Awaaz and Kaamchor being the first two films to be screened there, it eventually gained prominence after it began to screen actor Rajinikanth’s films. It is known for being the superstar’s favourite theatre and the actor and his family often come in to watch the first day first show (FDFS) of his films at Albert Theatre.