Culture Guide in Delhi


If there is one thing that surpasses the euphoria of cricket in India, it is cinema. The Indian film industry, also known as Bollywood, produces more than 1200 movies in a year—that is more movies than those produced by Hollywood and the European Union combined. These films are extremely popular and one often sees long queues of cars outside cinema halls.

Over the last few years, the number of multiplexes and cinema halls in Delhi has mushroomed and now there are more than 200 cinema theatres in Delhi. Both Hollywood and Bollywood movies are screened here.

Hollywood blockbusters are screened in the multiplexes almost as soon as they are released in the West. However, most movies are ‘cut’ by the Indian Censor Board before they are cleared for Indian audiences. Popular Hollywood movies are shown in English, however, occasionally Hindi versions of these movies are screened simultaneously; for example, the Hindi version of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was screened all over New Delhi as ‘Slumdog Crorepati’

Some cinema theatres that run the latest Hollywood flicks apart from regular Hindi movies are:

Adlabs IMAX theatre (Anand Vihar) has an IMAX projection screen that is 5 times the size of normal 70 mm screen. This 3-dimentional theatre takes you to the world of virtual reality. [Phone: 95120-3012222]

Movie halls in New Delhi often go ‘House Full’ so it is good idea to pre-book tickets before you head out to watch a movie, especially if it involves a long commute. All the multiplexes allow you to book online through their sites or by telephone. Or you can use ‘Book My Show’ an online ticket booking site –

For people who like world cinema and documentaries, there are venues like India Habitat Centre [Phone: 2468-2222] and India International Centre [Phone: 24619431] which tend to screen movies from all around the world. India International Centre also has a members-only film club.


You will find abundant opportunities for DVD purchase/rental at very low prices (rentals as low as .5 USD per day). Ask for the local ‘DVD library’ when you move into a new area and someone will guide you to local shop that runs a library-like lending operation. You can also opt for online DVD rental services that offer yearly memberships and monthly packages.

Some of the online DVD rental companies operational in New Delhi are:

Performing Arts

New Delhi has a small, but strong performing arts culture and is home to numerous theatre festivals, dance showcases and cultural shows put on in Delhi throughout the year. The city is also home to a number government-run schools and institutes like National School of Drama (Bhagwan Das Road, Phone: 23389402), Sangeet Natak Academy (Feroze Shah Road Phone: 23385715), Indian Centre of International Theatre Institute (Shankar Market, Phone: 2371432), and the Sri Ram Centre that promote quality theatre and dance.

Some other places to spend a quality evening include:

  • Dances of India: This organization regularly stages classical and folk dance performances in styles from around the subcontinent [Phone: 23585357].
  • India Habitat Centre (Lodhi Road) has a theatre performance, music or dance recital, film screening or some other cultural event almost every night. [Phone: 2468-2222]
  • India International Centre hosts a variety of cultural performances and film screenings [Phone: 24619431]
  • Poorva Sanskritik Kendra (Laxmi Nagar) is another place where cultural shows are organised. [Phone: 42448840]

Entry to most events is free and on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, for some events you might need to pay for a ticket or get a pass ahead of time. You will either have to go in person or send a representative to pick up your tickets for you. You should plan on purchasing tickets about three to four days in advance. You usually cannot buy tickets online.

You can get more information about plays and dance performances at:

The best place to find out which entertainment events are happening in the city is to read the listings in the city newspapers. Specific events are advertised in city newspapers and magazine. Time Out Delhi also carries theatre and dance listings for the coming fortnight.