Ajay Devgn All Set To Invest In Theatres For Smaller Towns

Bollywood star Ajay Devgn has announced that his company, NY Cinemas will be investing Rs 600 crore to open cinema theatres in smaller towns in India, over the next five years. Devgn’s spokesperson has announced that the new venture will result in 250 new theatre screens all over the country, especially in tier 2 and 3 towns. The first of these theatres is slated to launch soon in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh.

The organization’s CEO Rajeev Sharma said that the main idea behind this endeavor is to bring in more people to the cinemas to watch movies, no matter where they live. This is definitely a refreshing stance within the growing popularity of online streaming sites. The new theatres that Devgn wants to introduce promise to bring back the old-school communal charm of watching films in a theatre without compromising on modern standards of audio and video quality.  

Through themed theatres and unique customer experiences, Devgn’s theatres will offer the audience entertainment and recreational options that go beyond just the act of watching films. The theatres themselves will be an attraction and would invite people to stay on even after the end of the movie. “ The point is not for it to be a great money churner for us but to create loyal footfalls so that people come to our cinemas more than someone else’s,” Sharma said in an interview with Quartz. The organization will also be partnering with local organizations to provide the food and beverage options in the theatres.

The company will start with western and northern India and has plans to move south and are already planning to open theatres in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Sharma insisted that for the venture to be successful, the organization needs to have a pan-Indian presence. While Devgn plans to invest in building brand new theatres, the company will also be taking over a few already existing single screen theatres that are struggling to perform well. Devgn believes that cinema is a democratic equalizer, so there will be an emphasis on keeping the tickets reasonably priced.

Sharma does not seek to compete with Indian multiplex giants like Inox and PVR as his organization’s focus is the tier 2 and tier 3 towns that often fall beyond the radius of the distribution networks of the big players. Within the context of consistently dwindling footfalls in the city multiplexes, Sharma and Devgn both believe that providing smaller towns with the access to well-equipped theatres will prove to be a game-changer.

Sharma believes that all cinema platforms can co-exist, especially because there are tailor-made content for each of those platforms and audiences. There are films that have to be watched in the theatres, surrounded by a whole community of fans. Devgn’s NY Cinemas will strive to make sure that everyone has fair access to that experience.

I attended graduate school in Cinema Studies at Tisch School of the Arts and have worked extensively in the documentary film world, particularly in the areas of funding