Express News Service

Theatre chain PVR INOX launched its luxury boutique theatre Maison INOX, the second Maison cinema in Mumbai, at the JIO World Centre in Bandra-Kurla Complex on Thursday. The new theatre boasts of a six-screen setup, which includes three regular screens, two Insignia screens (premium halls offering recliner seats and concierge service) and an IMAX screen with laser technology. This will be the first theatre in Mumbai which will have a bar (Gatsby’s) offering alcoholic drinks. The six screens at the theatre have a total capacity of 790.On the sidelines of the launch, we spoke to Alok Tandon, Co-CEO, PVR INOX, on increasing cost of going to the theatres, competition from OTT and if small or medium-budget films are getting their due on the big screen.


Can you expand upon the vision behind the latest Maison INOX?
Our priority is to give the best experience to our guests. From the day we started the company (PVR INOX), that has been our vision. Be it in terms of service, luxury, technology, ambience or food, we have always tried to ensure that the cinemagoer gets quality as well as variety. We want the audience to watch movies as the director intended it to be shown. Any cinema hall that we conjure, these are the pillars that we work on. The new Maison INOX is situated in the heart of the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and I don’t think the location could have been any better.

There has been a lot of discussion on the high ticket and refreshments prices in theatres. What is your take on it? Is PVR INOX addressing this issue?
Let me clarify by saying it’s not expensive. Only at some PVR properties, I would say that the prices that you consider to be “high” are actually as per the paying propensity of the people, the cost structure of that particular cinema hall and are also affected by the day when you purchase the refreshments. We have a pricing of Rs 99 on food from Monday to Thursday. From Friday to Sunday, we offer unlimited refills on a large tub of popcorn and a large soft drink. When it comes to pricing, why don’t we ever question five-star hotels or restaurants? Everything comes at a price. We have the best food service in the country, master chefs who curate the menu, we have changed the way people consume food while watching a film and we offer the best of hygiene and cleanliness to our guests.

With every film ultimately landing up on OTT, how do you ensure people still come to theatres?
OTT platforms and cinemas will co-exist. It’s not ‘either, or’ but ‘and’. You can’t get the larger-than-life experience of watching a film on the big screen at home. You can’t get uncompressed sound quality or a crystal-clear image. Going to cinemas is an outing. We are giving people an experience. And let me tell you, be it the director, the actor or the producer, nothing gives them more thrill than the audience enjoying their creation on the big screen. People watch streaming platforms mostly for web series, docudramas or a film that they have missed out in theatres. For a new release, they still want to go to theatres.

This year, most films that have worked at the box office have been these big-budget star vehicles. In this scenario, is there any way theatre owners can ensure small or mid-budget films also get their theatrical due?
We show every movie. We don’t differentiate between a big film and a small film. It’s the quality of content which takes a film to the next week after its opening. We are doing our level best to ensure that people come into the theatres.

In your opinion, what kind of films are working in theatres?
I am not one to answer that, it is the viewer who determines whether a film would work or not. This year both Shah Rukh Khan films (Jawan and Pathaan) have done well. Gadar 2 nobody knew would perform as such. People flocked to the theatres in hordes to catch it. Movies like Dream Girl 2, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Oppenheimer, Barbie, all of them did very well. Across genres, across languages, if the content is good, people will come to watch it in theatres.

What are your expectations from Animal?
Like any other Indian, I think the film will do very well. We are actually excited about the entire line-up for December, there is Sam Bahadur, Dunki, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Salaar: Part 1-Ceasefire. The coming days for theatres look promising.

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