After announcing that the Denman Cinemas would be closing on September 30, manager Naz Jamshedian told the Straight that she wasn’t hopeful about starting over with another single-screen movie theatre in Vancouver.
Happily, she was dead wrong—on Tuesday (October 16), Jamshedian posted on the Denman Cinemas Facebook page that she and husband and co-manager Mike were set to take over the Raja Cinema (3215 Kingsway) on November 13. In a call to the Straight, an excited Jamshedian said the lease they signed lasts for “close to five years.”
One of the advantages for the new management is the existing condition of the Raja, which was showing Bollywood movies up until 2011. “I can tell you that it’s in a much better state than Denman was when we started out,” Jamshedian said, adding that “it has a balcony—I always wanted a theatre with a balcony!”
Still, there are some renos to take care of, including sprucing up the 400-seater’s frontage and bringing in the upgraded sound system and projector the Jamshedians installed at the Denman just before the curtain unexpectedly came down for good.
Jamshedian said they also plan to bring the same kind of off-beat programming to the Raja that West Enders had grown to love at the last place, including special events, festivals, and fundraisers. She also promised to upkeep the quality of the popcorn, including “real butter.”
As of now, the only movie that’s been programmed into the new Raja—almost like a kind of tribute—is veteran director Yash Chopra’s Bollywood blockbuster Jab Tak Hai Jaan, to be screened November 20. Until then, the Jamshedians have some work to do. “And I’m looking for a good, catchy name,” she said, referring to their Facebook page, where the Jamshedians welcome your suggestions.