Sunset Drive-in.. Ahmedabad

Firstly thnks to everyone who has started such a beautiful and romantic nostalgic discussion on theaters but in all post till now drive in was missing and without discussion or knowing it the whole discussion i assume not organic whole or complete.
(below image shows the gigantic screen)














The best movie experience one can have… under the natural enviorment ..observing sunset ..and slowly the screen lighting always magical for me.. Nowhere in India i suppose the same exist as of now (in mumabi it was there earlier but it was flop).. bringing the carpet and pillows and home made food and farsan and water and relaxing under the nature. The walks before the movie starts. its size and lenght always amazes it me. its located at prime place in ahmedabad where if u sell this plot it will be amonmg costliest place in ahmedabad i guess and i was always worried that one day it will be sold after emergence of multiplex culture but it survived and how.

Between i should share i still go to drive in in my fiat (the taxi model of mumbai) and both make me fall in love with cinema as usually i dont take carpet or chair but i relax on my fiat padmini and watch the movie.
Interesting fact-if u are leaving in the flat exactly next to drive in one can see the movie from balcony though voice may not come. my friend had once told a tale of seen it once in this manner and i guess it was some akshay actioner of 90s. really uniquely free cinema.
A bad experience of course like everything else it has got old now and how. Guess what i had gone to see bunty or babli in Drive in. And what did i found. The screen was a bit poorer quality but the real thing is when a retro typical never before heard song started some stupid black and not clearly identifiable face was dancing ..slowly i found tune catchy and after a minute i realize it was Ashwarya rai bachan who was looking shyam in colour because of poor maintainace of the screen i guess. !!! :-) :-)
i remember seeing dil toh pagal hai, bunty babli, dilwale dulhania le jayenge, mann, ishq etc in 90s in drive in..
acc to me no cinema , single screen, multiplex can give u a Drive in experience… simply unique experience
Even today its quite economic for a sunday picnic.. it gets full on sunday or a big movie. Last year i saw Golmaal returns in drive in after long period of time and i relieved whole my childhood of watching AB, Anil Kapoor, Sunny deol… man i still remeber sunny deol breaking the jail in Salaakhein called movie.
It has i think capacity for 1000 cars. Very good pav bhaji, chinese.. and italian toast pizza is a favourite. when i was small i used to eat 5 vada pavs per movie.

the picture show old speaker (they havent replaced them for bloody my birth i guess and some times u my bad luck can have a broken speaker alongside where u park ur car and u are in for terrible time.
Ofcoure any description of drive in impossible without mentioning the 90s era before multiplex it was the no . 1 theater and price was that on many a weekends we had entered the huge line 50-100 cars (ofcourse line got so big for raja hindustaani, ddlj they blocked the whole main road by 1 kms i guess or more) and when after waiting u dont get ticket u drive out with disappointment of turning late because not only u miss movie u miss rest under sky, home made food, vada pavs, ofcourse the people the crowd.
Imagine 5000 or more people under same area laughing, clapping, seetis and roars… its more than cinema in is life at its best.

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47 Responses to “Sunset Drive-in.. Ahmedabad”

  1. this is an enormous post Rooney… worth its weight in gold.. something that you wrote here gives me the idea that we should have an open air theater as well!

  2. Yup now i remember i had seen the Great Big B and Govinda in bade miyan chote miyan and boy o boy it was some experience of watching bachan and reaction of the crowd… he was god…

    also people having laughing riot due to govinda.. and that song kissi hotel mein khayee..kissi disco main jayein…

    and also after movie gets over u might have become a critic along with the family sitting besides u… discussing the movie is good or bad etc… old genration people discussing the rise of bachan.. kids loving govinda..

    and mind u even grandma kinda people come in big families in big cars… it was complete family experience…

    and then as it was completely packed people living from exit and it bloody half an hour to get out as 1000 cars want to go out after movie get over.

    • if one had ever doubt about bachans status just say something bad there and u will get ur response that u wont forget for life…

  3. thnks satyam..

  4. between i will try to get a night image or video for u guys personally or via a friend.

    particularly a pic or video when sun sets and sun (drive in ) rises…

  5. Ive been to this theatre back in the 80s. It was a family event after a wedding, when the hosts just decided to entertain the guests to a unique amdavadi experience at the drive in. Only downside was that the movie was some Mithun starrer. But the experience was truely amazing.

    Satyam, fyi, in NY, I have seen one drive-in in Dutchess County. Dont know of any others around here.

    • Didn’t know about this.. it used to be the big thing in America in the 50s.. many period coming of age movies have this as one of the central elements.

      • Yup, I too was surpised to see this drive in. Since this is situated in beautiful Dutchess County, the driving in experience to the drive in is by itself worth it.I also think they play latest Hwood movies, not re-runs.

        Another great spot for drive-in fun is during the summer movie events at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla. They usually show 3-4 movies every summer out there. Its a lot of fun with the full picnic atmosphere.

    • hey Nykavi cool to know that u too had experienced it. and really found the tradition of after wedding visit interesting…

      and yup watching a mithun starrer movie could have been downside.. between even i have watched many a scrappy movies in drive in ..but always felt the picnic, mood overall, and ghar ka khana under open sky made my trip memorable…


      • Rooney, that experience was my first drive in outing. And I did truely enjoy the picnicing with family and friends. That ambience is precisely the reason I cant even remember the name of the crappy Mithun potboiler, so engrossed was I in just the setting.

  6. AWESOME! Rooney, I can’t thank you enough: the drive-in was the one aspect of the theater experience that had been overlooked in the recent posts…man it’s been at least twenty years since I last went to a drive-in…

    • thnks q bhai.. i thought the same that something was missing and therefore was forced to search pics on google… cool to know u have experienced it

  7. Nice stuff Rooney – I like drive-ins more as a passerby, but you’re right in that this is a unique movie-viewing experience. One of my favorite activities in the summertime in NYC during the past couple of years has been to pass by and sometimes attend the Bryant Park summer movie series, where they screen classics of American film. Really something else to see a film projected on an enormous screen but freed from the darkness of a movie theater. It becomes a more shared experience in both the best and worst ways…

    Incidentally, I would do a US counterpart to all these great posts (the Indian film houses across the States) but it would look post-apocalyptic in comparison…from the drudgery of The Imaginasian in NYC to the crumbling Naz 8 in Los Angeles. Doesn’t exactly inspire chest-swelling pride.

    I really want to go to some of these halls.

    • thnks gf.. interesting points from american perspective.. nice to know about it..

      looking forward to ur american post on the same issue.. as i dont know anything about it

  8. from official website description- with official facts (I GOT IT WRONG WHEN I SAID 1000 CARS it can only 665 and again wrong 5000 people its actually more !!!)

    between more legendary stuff first film screened was of the bolywoods first couple AMITABH AND JAYA BADHURIS ‘S ABHIMAAN:-

    Sunset Drive-in, an open Air Cinema with the largest screen in Asia, is located at Ahmedabad. It is first of it’s kind which can room about 665 cars at a time. More than 6000 people can enjoy watching movie at a time.

    Started on September 6th 1973, the first film it hosted was “ABHIMAAN”. Till date, this theatre is one of the most popular hang-outs in the city. Dolby Sound and Covered sitting facility attracts people who don’t own cars as well.

    Being one of the best family entertainment spot, it caters to all the age groups. The restaurant at Drive-in offers wide variety of food at best prices. On Friday one can find an enthusiastic crowd of young, fashion conscious crowd of guys and gals and freaking out.

  9. Great post Rooney, once as a child I went to a Mela by the Ganga jee during Ganga Snaan and our Dharmshala was right at the back of the screen. we all watched the movie backwards, the next night the owner put a giant cloth behind the screen so that we could not see the movie. LOL !!

  10. and here’s that great moment from Swades at 3:00

  11. great post rooney. never seen a drive-in theatre before. in rajni’s sivaji they have a fight sequence in a drive-in theatre. can chennai guys confirm if that is for real or is it one of shankar’s creative ideas?
    my only experience is they used to put up a screen in the middle of the road for ganesh festivals in the evenings for the total length of 9 days or so and play a movie. they were all black and white devotional kind of movies. all classics. bollywood crowd wont understand as south is the home of such kind of movies. in 50s and 60s all languages in south made these kind of films regularly.
    a quiz question if anyone is interested. can u tell me the name of the movie where both aamir and shahrukh appear in the same sequence. It is a bit of trick question obviously as everyone knows they havent acted in a film together. actually it is a serious question and not a PJ. my previous paragraph has a hint to the answer as well.

  12. too bad my slow typing skills have not taken me anywhere. satyam got there even before i could finish typing.

  13. I saw the inaugural show of Abhimaan there and for several years literally was there every Friday. A great place for family and also for youngsters wanting to indulge in a little bit of nookie. You could see cars parked all the way in the back away from crowds and you knew there was hanky panky going on.
    The only drawback was the speakers were sometimes not working properly.
    I have been to one drive- in in US in Cape Cod. Saw Princess Diaries!

    • cool i knew it u must have been there but didnt though u must have seen inauguaral show also (wat was the price of ticket ?? )

      yup interesting the hanky panky stuff .. it still i suppose goes on it too vast and people enjoy it

  14. Ya, in Amdavad, all the hanky-panky takes place at the drive-in, except during to har nukkad pe hanky hi hanky hota hai.

  15. LOL Kavi. rightly said. Though this is changing as we speak, historically the girls of Ahmedabad are less outgoing than say Baroda. The navratri at Baroda is seen to be believed (I believe lot of youngsters make the trek from Bombay to Baroda) and the girls are more cosmpolitan and easier to befriend. But of course all this is changing on the margin.

  16. between wheres idea ??? he was in ahmd.. surely he must have gone to drive in..

  17. Rooney:


    guys its a first of its kind..look below for its good it will cost 50% of multiplex..
    SHAH RUKH TO LAUNCH IT TODAY in gallops mall, iskon, ahmedabad

  18. it’s my favorite thiyetar

    • there were a few more images here at one point that are no longer available. But it would be great to have pictures from another drive-in from somewhere else in the country. These are huge cultural artifacts. In fact in the US they were the center of small town life for very long as much as parades and so on. Especially so with campy genres. Whether it is this or the whole ‘balcony’ experience in India (or open air theaters) these were charming aspects of the movie-going experience. Of course these were also possible in an age when cinema dominated popular culture. Today it is just one entertainment among many having long ago lost its transcendence.

      • my friend wanted to see the Rowdy in Drive in today… and another friend says go easy u will get it…. and i said check out.. if m not wrong it will houseful by now… turns out house full…

        whenever such masala or even decent entertainer releases it always runs house full even today thats the fun part!

        • massively jealous rooney-macrooni…

          • Dont be. I think he didnt get to see it.

          • The fact that he is in aapnu amdavad enjoying utaran, neera, phonk, undhiyu, ras/rotli, matla-kulfi and sometimes all that in drive-in…on top of a car…

          • and yeah not just any car… i catch the drive in, in my Fiat :) reminds me of times when i was a child!

            and what coincidence when u say this, i am having asharfi the king of kulfi :) Love it!!

            and loving the season of Ras!! and hey i don’t have ras with rotli, we have something called “POLI” its a single rotli of two “pads” which splits after it is cooked of tavi. and not to forget patra, khandvi, khaman, fafda along with it!!!

            ps- loving the summers!

  19. Great post Rooney :-) There’s a pretty nice drive-in theatre by the beach in Chennai. A little run-down, but what it lacks in polish it more than makes up for with ambience.

  20. Rooney, lovely post- mazaa aa gaya. i have never visited a drive-in theatre but having read ur post, i believe i have missed something big. wanna do so now

    • thanks, suarabh, u r invited, to come to ahmedabad, It would be my pleasure to catch a movie with you! in drive in! (and Di is also invited)

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