Essel Group pumps in Rs 1 bn to set up budget multiplexes

MUMBAI: Essel Group has floated E-City Bioscope Entertainment to set up a chain of budget cinema theatres, for which it has lined up an equity investment of Rs 1 billion.

The Group already operates Fun Cinemas in the premium segment. Talkie Town, Fun‘s value brand, focuses on single screens.

"We have invested Rs 1 billion and are creating ‘economy‘ cinemas. We see viability in the Rs 60-65 ticket model. We will have two-three screens in our multiplexes. Some will also be single screen theatres," E-City Bioscope Entertainment operating director Gagan Goel tells

The Bioscope brand of theatres will make their first appearance in the state of Rajasthan. Ajmer will come up in February 2009, says Goel. "Our plan is to have 35-40 screens across 15 centres in Rajasthan over the next 3-4 years."

Though the multiplex at Jodhpur is already operational, it is not low-priced.

In Rajasthan, Bioscope Entertainment has already acquired land at 10 locations and started construction work in six of them.

Bioscope also plans to launch in other states across B and C class towns. "We are evaluating the land prices. We will have a presence in the Hindi speaking markets," says Goel.

Bioscope Entertainment will set up malls, food courts, kids zones and multiplexes. "We will sell the retail space and retain the multiplex. We are acquiring land for this, but will also have a model where we take property on lease like in Jodhpur," says Goel.

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