Shanti Theatre

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Shanti Theatre
LocationChennai, Tamil Nadu
Opened12 January 1961 (1961-01-12)
ClosedMay 2016
  • G. Umapathy
  • D. Shanmuga Raja

Shanti Theatre was an Indian movie theatre located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Built by G. Umapathy and D. Shanmuga Raja, and inaugurated in January 1961, it was bought by actor Sivaji Ganesan, and was owned by his family since. In May 2016, Shanti ceased screening films, and was re-invented by its owners as a multiplex.


Shanti Theatre was built by G. Umapathy and D. Shanmuga Raja, then the Raja of Sivaganga.[1] It was inaugurated on 12 January 1961 by then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj, and was the first deluxe air-conditioned theatre of Madras (now Chennai) with a capacity to seat 1212 people. The inaugural show was Srinivasa Kalyanam, and the first film to be released there officially was Thooya Ullam, followed by the Hindi film, Kalpana. The Tamil film Paava Mannippu was released in the theatre on 16 March 1961. Around the same time, the original promoters, facing a repayment cash crunch, approached Paava Mannippu star Sivaji Ganesan, who not only agreed to invest, but also bought out the promoters. Since then, Ganesan's family has owned the theatre. The theatre is widely believed to have been named after Ganesan's daughter Shanthi. According to Ganesan's nephew Giri Shanmugam, "Shanti Theatre became a landmark in the city because it was owned by the great Sivaji Ganesan. Watching a Sivaji movie in Shanti was on the must-to-do list, besides seeing Marina Beach and LIC – the only 14-storyed building in the city then, for most visitors from other parts of Tamil Nadu."[2]

After Paava Mannippu, Shanti went on to screen 81 more films starring Ganesan. Some of the actor's hits like Paava Mannippu, Thiruvilaiyadal, Vasantha Maligai, Thanga Pathakkam, Thirisoolam and Muthal Mariyathai became silver jubilee films,[a] while several others were 100-day successes. During the 100th day celebrations of Karnan (1964), the theatre wore a festive look, with a real chariot readied and kept up front. N. T. Rama Rao, who portrayed Krishna in that film, was present along with various stars from the film.[2]

The theatre was also known to screen Hindi and English language films. In 1964, Raj Kapoor's Sangam ran for 188 days in the theatre. When Sangam was running to packed houses, Ganesan faced a piquant situation. His own production, Puthiya Paravai was gearing up for release and Ganesan was keen on releasing it in Shanti. When Kapoor learnt of this, he personally requested Ganesan to allow Sangam to continue with a longer run in Shanti, since no other theatre in Madras had such facilities. Ganesan assented and released Puthiya Paravai at the nearby Paragon theatre, after spending money on its renovation.[2] The Sivaji Productions film Chandramukhi (2005) played for 888 days straight in Shanti.[1]


In mid-2016, it was announced that Shanti would no longer be a theatre, and would be re-invented as a multiplex, while still retaining the name Shanti.[3] The last film to be screened was 24.[4]


  1. ^ A silver jubilee film is one that completes a theatrical run of 175 days.[2]


  1. ^ a b Raman, Mohan (17 January 2011). "Shanti theatre crosses a milestone". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Govardan, D (14 April 2017). "Last day, Last show". Financial Chronicle. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Chennai's iconic Shanthi Theatre to turn into entertainment centre". Business Line. 2 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  4. ^ Aloysius Xavier Lopez (16 May 2016). "Curtains come down on iconic Shanti theatre". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2017.