Liberty

Highlights

The Liberty Cinema opened in 1949 with Mehboob Khan’s film Andaz, an emotionally charged film starring Nargis, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. The film, which told the story of a rich heiress (Nargis), her poor and eventually crazed admirer (Dilip Kumar) and her husband (Raj Kapoor) set the ball rolling for Liberty. The film was declared a hit, and so was its music, composed by the great Naushad.

After the Liberty was wrested back into the family by Mr. Nazir Hoosein, the theatre was restored to deserve once again  the title “Showplace of the Nation”. It was then that Rajshree Productions expressed an interest in showing their upcoming film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, starring the dashing Salman Khan and the beautiful Madhuri Dixit, along with an ensemble cast, at the Liberty. However, they insisted upon Mr. Hoosein installing a new state-of-the-art sound system. They agreed however to pay for the sound system in case the film bombed! Of course no one could predict the massive success that Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was destined for. Released in six cinemas initially, including the Liberty, the demand for the film was so great it reached a peak of 21 cinemas totally. At the Liberty, it ran to full houses for 3 shows a day for 44 weeks! The Liberty ran the film for 125 weeks, and approximately 2 million people viewed it there. As Mr. Hoosein recalls, the screening was a festival: entire families came along, with home-cooked food and enjoyed themselves over the runtime of more than 3 hours. The most famous patron was Mr. M. F. Husain, who viewed this picture 50 times always sitting in the upper stall and dancing in the aisles whenever Madhuri Dixit did the same on the screen.  This irritated the audience sitting behind him but it was all part of the fun and games. Mr. Hoosein offered Mr. Husain his personal box with all the seats removed except one so he could dance without disturbing anybody, but the great artist would have none of it!