Art Deco gem restored to former glory: exterior of Thirties cinema building in Harrow could be revealed for first time in 57 years

An art deco cinema could be returned to its Thirties glory after being hidden behind metal cladding for more than half a century.

Safari Cinema is best known today for screening Bollywood blockbusters such as Mission Mangal and Super 30 for as little as £4 a ticket in Harrow.

The venue, designed by architect Frank Ernest Bromige and originally known as The Dominion, opened in Station Road in January 1936.

It was hidden behind blue steel cladding in 1962 because it was deemed too expensive to maintain.

Now the exterior could be revealed for the first time in 57 years under plans submitted to Harrow council.

Businessman Ghulam Alahi is buying the cinema and hopes to restore its “magnificent” facade and build an  11-storey block of 78 flats on the site.

Mr Alahi, who runs property firm Asprea 2 Ltd, wants to keep a cinema on the ground floor, which would be managed by ArtHouse Crouch End.

The cinema will show mainstream films as well as art-house and independent movies, and the plans include a cafe on the first floor.

Indian film fans from the area said they hope Bollywood classics will continue to be shown at the venue if the plans are approved.

Bollywood dance teacher Neha Patel, 35, from Harrow, said: “It means a lot to us because Bollywood is great entertainment for everybody.”

A council spokesman said they could not comment on the application ahead of a decision.

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