Chauburji On the eve that heralded the birth of Pakistan, the Indian subcontinent boasted three movie-making centres - Bombay, Calcutta and Lahore, in that order. Lahores oldest studios consisted of one set-up on Ravi Road in 1929 and the Pancholi, none of which could survive long, after independence. The 1950s and early sixties was the heyday of Pakistani film industry with four studios working round the clock producing quality entertainment for the public. These were the Evernew and Shahnoor Studios on Multan Road and a smaller one off the Mall, a short distance from the canal moving towards the cantonment. The fourth called Screen and Sound, owned by a distinguished Lahori gentleman bearing a striking resemblance to Raj Kapoor, was located on Ferozepur Road near Ichra. While Evernew and Shahnoor studios survived into the present decade, the other two have become history. Lahores cinema halls were distinctly divided on linguistic lines. Plaza, Regal, Rex and much later Auriga, screened English movies, while others opted for Urdu and Punjabi films. Odeon was a quality establishment on Abbot Road, which showed English films, but somewhere in the late sixties converted to running ones in vernacular. The owners of this cinema, who were known to my father since pre-independence days, lived in a set of spacious apartments on the upper floor and watching movies here cost us nothing. The Regal Cinema located on Temple Road and also accessible from The Mall, was owned by the well known movie mogul W Z Ahmed, who was a close family friend. Like Odeon, watching movies here was free, but the real attraction was the samosa shop just outside the gate on Temple Road. Plaza was located close to our house on Queens Road and showed quality English films. It had a dancing school on the first floor, run by a Chinese lady and we always cast furtive glances at the young females that happened to be visiting the establishment. Rex and Auriga were relatively later additions to the Lahori cinema scene. Rex was located at Boharwala Chowk and no trip of ours there, was complete without sampling generous quantities of ice cream from the factory of Sheikh Masud, who owned Tangiers Milk Bar in Tollington Market. Auriga was the first cinema hall with the 70mm screen and projection system. Sadly, it has now been replaced by a commercial market by the same name. The largest concentration of cinema halls showing Urdu and Punjabi films was on Abbot Road followed by McLeod Road. Nishat and Capital cinemas were located on Abbot Road which also sported some of the best places for spicy Lahori food. Sanobar, owned by the well known Mandviwalla family, was on McLeod Road. No story about star-studded Lahore would be complete without a tribute to the citys travelling theatres. One invariably found a couple of these deployed in the vicinity of Bhaati Gate with garishly painted canvases, patched tents and blaring loud speakers. These theatres or mandwas were the basic entertainment unit for many and some of them had a great fan following. The cast consisted of men and women and sometimes young boys dressed as females and the menu always included drama, sword fights, romance and ultimate victory for the hero. Occasionally, a tearjerker would be staged, which would become popular with the female patrons. It is a pity that an integral part of Lahores entertainment scene - its cinema halls - are being replaced by more commercially viable businesses and respectable movie audiences are closeting themselves in home theatres. In a critical stage also are the film studios that have survived the entertainment revolution and gone are the mandwas from the urban scene. It appears as if the 'star-studded city of Lahore is gradually losing its stars. The writer is a freelance columnist.