May 2, 2015, did not just mark the closure of the last independent Indian cinema in Dubai but also the loss of a building with deep meaning for many residents.
The Golden Cinema, also known as the Plaza, opened its doors in 1972 and a more recent image above shows the building with cinema manager Hassan A Kannu outside. The 1,500-seat theatre in Bur Dubai screened some of the biggest releases in Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil over the course of four decades. It stood apart in a world of multiplex blandness.
In the last few weeks, the wreckers moved in and the building, finally, has been demolished. But that’s not where the credits end. Plaza Cinema, a new exhibition by Emirati artist Ammar Al Attar, is now on show in Dubai.
Al Attar has recreated 30 posters from films shown at the cinema, and the project seeks to explore the importance of film and how it reconnects the diaspora to their homeland. As part of the show, photographs and rescued ephemera are also on display. The building may have gone, but a record if its history lives on.
• Plaza Cinema runs at Alserkal Avenue until April 29. For more information, visit www.alserkalavenue.ae
* John Dennehy