Pune: Chennai is soon set to house one of the most luxurious multiplexes in South India with more than 10 screens by PVR Cinemas. On the sidelines of the opening ceremony of ‘the country’s most opulent multiplex’, PVR Icon in Pune, News Today spoke to CEO of the company, Gautam Dutta about cinema in Chennai, rest of India and a lot more. With the latest launch, PVR’s total screen count has reached to 597 screens at 130 properties in 51 cities across India. Excerpts:
Q: How the audience space of cinema halls in India has evolved over the decades?
A: There could be some impact due to the evolution of online platforms, but a cinema hall is a place for holistic entertainment. This cannot be replaced. In the age of IMAX and 4DX, movies in small screen can never give out the wholesomeness of entertainment. Cinema hall is an out-of-home entertainment arena which will always have a special place in the industry.
Q: How has piracy influenced the market of movies in theatres?
A: Watching a movie in a cinema hall is more than just an entertainment. It is an experience. Piracy has always been there for a long time. Every time when a new form of piracy evolves be it VCR, CD, DVD, torrent to the present day FB live stream, there would be general comment that if this continues cinema will die soon. But, the fact is that the industry has survived it all. This is because of that experience people get to feel when watching a movie in a cinema hall. Simply, people love to watch cinema.
Q: How GST made an impact in the ticket prices?
A: Cinema has turned out to be part the of parcel of everyone’s life. It is not luxury but, indeed a routine. So, people will always love to watch cinema irrespective of the ticket prices. And there is not a high influence of movie hall ticket price I hope. The crowd watching movies in theatres did not go down in count. So, I think GST did not have great impact in restricting people to watch movies.
Q: Have the new generation cinema experiences like IMAX reached out to a good audience base in India?
A: Yes, it has. But, there are some limitations for setting up an IMAX screen. It needs certain parameters like height and width. Not all auditoriums can be fit with an IMAX screen. PVR already has four IMAX screens in the country and we are planning to hike the count to four or five more in our properties. And one more thing is that, not all movies can be watched in IMAX screens. So, if the number of movies made to be screened in IMAX goes up, the market for the big picture will also expand.
Q: Why don’t Indian theatres screen movies other than those made in the regional languages and English?
A: The problem is that, there is not a proper commercial audience base for that in the country. We are ready to screen movies of European languages too under certain predefined constraints. People can select a certain movie of their interest from any language and post it into our website’s Vkaao feature. If the movie is shown interest by several like minded people with same theatre preferred, we will be screening it. While, we also host international film festivals too once a year, in which we screen a lot of foreign movie other than English.
Q: Chennai does not have a luxury multiplex so far. So, when can we expect an opulent multiplex in Chennai?
A: PVR already has established multiplexes in Chennai but all of them are only mainstream multiplexes and not luxury. However, within one year, we are planning to house a next level multiplex in Chennai, which would be a superplex. The superplex will have at least 10 screens with all opulent features. And I am sure that it would be the talk of the town.