Watercolour illustration of Liberty Cinema (2018-04/2018-04)Art Deco Mumbai
This magnificent Art Deco cinema sits within the Marine Lines neighbourhood, next to West End, South Mumbai’s Art Deco hotel.
Front view of Liberty Cinema (1949-03/1949-03)Art Deco Mumbai
With its foundation laid in 1947, Liberty Cinema was named to celebrate India’s independence on 15th August 1947. It was built as a single screen theatre that showcased only Hindi cinema, popularly known as "Bollywood" today.
Ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema Group Photograph taken at the ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema (1947/1947)Art Deco Mumbai
Hoosein Family, land owner Manu Subedar & project architect Riddley Abbott with his wife were in attendance at the ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema in 1947.
Ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema Habib Hoosein (1947/1947)Art Deco Mumbai
Habib Hoosein built Liberty.
To meet the need for entertainment of troops of the Allied Forces that were based in Bombay, Habib constructed 45 cinemas all over Bombay, including Liberty. This lead to the construction boom of cinema theatres.
Ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema Manu Subedar (1947/1947)Art Deco Mumbai
Manu Subedar, eminent economist
The land where Liberty Cinema was built was acquired from him.
Ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema Mr and Mrs Riddley Abbott (1947/1947)Art Deco Mumbai
Mr and Mrs Riddley Abbott
Riddley Abbott was the Architect of Liberty Cinema. After his untimely death in an air crash when he went on a vacation, it was J.B. Fernandes who was appointed the supervising architect. The stunning interiors were designed by W.M. Namjoshi
Ground breaking ceremony of Liberty Cinema Nazir Hoosein (1947/1947)Art Deco Mumbai
Nazir Hoosein, son of Habib Hoosein, owner of Liberty.
By passion and profession a race car driver and F-1 aficionado
Poster of AndaazArt Deco Mumbai
The theatre opened with the iconic Hindi film Andaz - starring superstars Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Dilip Kumar - on 21 March 1949.
Poster of Awaara (2018-06/2018-06)Art Deco Mumbai
Since 1949, every major Hindi blockbuster has been showcased at Liberty.
Poster of Mother IndiaArt Deco Mumbai
Awara and Mother India were blockbusters that had a long run here.
Mini Theatre for private screening
Habib Hoosein hosted cinema personalities for social evenings (mehfil) in the Liberty ‘mini’ theatre - his private screening room. Raj Kapoor, a regular, would play the lilting tunes of Awara on the theatre’s piano.
Watch as the mini theatre comes alive with an incredible display of light and colour. The floral motifs on the ceiling are made with luminous paint, designed to glow during the light show.
Hum Aapke Hain KounArt Deco Mumbai
In 1994 Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan, opened at Liberty.
At 125 weeks it was the longest running Hindi film at Liberty. It ran house full for 44 consecutive weeks (3 times a day). Well over 2 million people saw it at Liberty.
Mr. Hoosein recalls how legendary artist and painter M F Hussain saw the film over 60 times and danced barefoot in the aisles of the Stalls everytime Madhuri Dixit danced on the screen.
Liberty Cinema as a Cultural Venue
The Liberty has always been a labour of love, with a lifetime of loyalty, care and affinity shown to it by its owners, long-standing staff and patrons. May its curtains never come down.
Image courtesy for film Hum Aapke Hain Koun: Ultra Media & Entertainment