Perhaps the best days of my early childhood were those Friday evenings when the entire family would get ready for the evening show at Capital Hall. This was the early 1980’s when there was a choice of two cinema halls for the avid moviegoers in this small hill-town. The Rink Cinema (now developed into the Big Bazar / Inox complex) was almost always the second choice to the Capital Hall with its option of a Balcony section.
As a young child, I clearly remember the grille design of the front porch entrance to this grand building, the smell of fresh pop-corn that was uniquely different with its pungent mustard flavour, the crackle of fresh local potato ‘chips’ and the general waft of smoke & mint in the air.
This prominent landmark and colonial heritage since 1917 met a sad turn of events when a fire broke out in 1996 bringing down the dreams of many in its smouldering flames. Since then, the building has mostly stayed closed and was briefly occupied by the CRPF during the recent political upheaval.
If you are in Darjeeling you will not miss this grand structure on your way up to Ladenla Road, leading to Nehru Road and the Mall. The Capital Hall is one of the few Colonial Buildings that lends its appeal to Darjeeling’s old-world charm. Its present state is a woeful sight as it stands gravely in lack of care and maintenance.
My sketch is a tribute to this prominent landmark and the memory of what it stood for.
Pencils, Pen, Cretacolor Hard Pastels & Camlin Charcoal on Fabriano A4.