Political independence brought a pleasant surprise for the people of Sikar in Rajasthan. Earlier known as Hardayal Talkies and renamed Samraat Talkies in 1980, this cinema has been regaling the locals with the latest film offerings for quite a while. Kicking off with the screening of Samraat Chandragupt (produced and directed by Jayant Desai), Samraat Talkies is still the most popular single-screen in Sikar.
The cinema’s manager Rajeev Mathur says with pride, “Our USP is our location and the fact that we play the latest films. We provide top-notch facilities at par with multiplex standards. We also believe in entertaining our audience to the fullest.”
The first film the cinema screened after it was renovated in the ’80s was Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (toplining Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rakhee and Rekha), one of the top grossers of all time for Samraat.
Samraat Talkies is simple and tastefully done and accommodates parking for both two-wheelers and cars. Inside, the building is plain yet stylish, with wooden panels on the walls and marble flooring. Movie posters on the walls showcase the films being screened. Beckoning patrons inside is a cream facade with a box-office counter displaying show timings and ticket prices, and pale walls lend a lively look.
Renovated again in 2008, this single-screen has acquired a lively look that lights up gaily at night. The lobby is subtle and bathes the building in a pleasant ambience. Samraat has plush pushback seats and is equipped with a state-of-the-art Dolby-Stereo sound system. It is also equipped with UFO digital technology and has a 70-mm capable screen.
Samraat Talkies also screens regional films to cater to a wider audience. With a total seating capacity of 754, which is divided in four sections – Embassy (20), Super Deluxe (148), Deluxe (406) and Royal (180) – tickets are priced at Rs 60, Rs 50, Rs 40 and Rs 25 respectively.
If Amitabh Bachchan once ruled the box office at Samraat, Akshay Kumar now reigns supreme. Tees Maar Khan and Singh Is Kinng were Kumar’s top hits at Samraat. An added appeal is the concession stand, where patrons can snack on delicious munchies.
The closest competitor to Samraat Talkies is Shiv Mandir, which also screens new releases.