Muktangan, the city's first - and only - open air theatre, is making way for the largest air-conditioned hall in Kolkata. Built in 1980 and rechristened as Nazrul Mancha a decade later, when an overhead steel frame was added to provide a corrugated tin sheet roof, the facility soon became a popular venue for high-profile music concerts. The facility, owned by the Kolkata Improvement Trust, will be renovated by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA).
Winds of change
According to KMDA engineers, the Rs 15-crore upgrade will see the hall being redesigned and refurbished. While the existing roof will be retained, a false ceiling will be added. Walls will come up to facilitate the air-conditioning. "Enclosing the theatre will improve the acoustics that are extremely poor at Nazrul Mancha at present. Apart from making the interiors aesthetically pleasing, special emphasis is being laid on acoustics as the authorities want it to be the best venue for cultural programmes," the official added.
The threatre will also be fitted with a state-of-the-art fire fighting system. A reservoir is being created to meet the system's needs. Also, toilets that are in extremely bad shape are being completely redone. "The interiors of the hall will be renovated. Nothing much will be done externally to keep the heritage of the place alive," an architect involved in the project said.
The biggest theatre in town
With the erection of walls and installation of air-conditioners, the theatre's capacity will be reduced from 3,500 to 2,400. But it will still be the largest AC theatre in the city, bigger than the Science City auditorium and Nandan-I. New ergonomic seats are likely to replace the plastic bucket seats. "Renovation work has already started and we hope to complete it by February-March so that the Bengali New Year function can be held in the revamped facility," said the official.
According an English daily, the first tender for Rs 7.5 crore, which includes major civil work including erecting the walls, constructing the reservoir and a sub-station, has already begun. The next tender will include AC, fire system and acoustics.
I've come here so many times. This is a wonderful place to see concerts at, beside the lake. Good that it's been renovated.
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