PVR watermark and trained staff help detect piracy, says Sanjeev Bijli, targets 1000 screens by '20

NEW DELHI: It had always been a favourite meeting place until it closed down over a decade ago, and it was sorely missed. The Chanakya cinema was the only theatre in Chanakyapuri -- the capital’s diplomatic enclave -- and so it exhibited either English or blockbuster films. But, an unseemly dispute with the New Delhi Municipal Corporation forced the lease-holders to shut shop.

However, the theatre has reopened in a new avatar – and helped the PVR Cinemas touch the 600-screen mark with PVR Cinema CMD Ajay Bijli confident of touching the 1000-screen mark by 2020.

The property was later acquired on a 15-year lease by DLF who have developed it as a shopping complex and PVR developed a part of it as a three-screen theatre.

PVR joint managing director Sanjeev Bijli told that around 3.5 per cent of the budget of the PVR chain has been set aside for publicity and promotion. In a brief talk on the sidelines of a press meet to unveil the new theatre, he said, answering a question relating to piracy, that every frame appearing on the screen carried the PVR watermark and so piracy could be easily detected.

Bijli also said that the staff had been trained to keep a watch on viewers using mobiles to ensure the screen image was not copied. He said the tagline ECX meant Enhanced Cinema Experience -- a greater emphasis on the latest sound technology, and silver screens which ensured a better viewing experience.

In its new incarnation, PVR ECX Chanakya unveils the most opulent cinema format in India with its 4K projection system, next-generation 3D-enabled screens with ultra HD picture quality and Dolby ATMOS surround-sound system in all auditoriums. The new cinema also offers Quick Tix, PVR’s digital ticketing solution to promote cashless transactions and reduce ticket-wait times. The cinema also offers an automated F&B kiosk Quick Bites for the first time ever, wherein patrons’ can either pick up their order from the counter or get it served on their seat.

Being a PVR ECX property, there is special emphasis on ambience manifested by a deep focus on design, colours and lighting in each cinema. Designed by the Madrid-based STUDIO GRONDA, the revamped PVR ECX has magnificent lobby spaces, custom-made chandeliers, prime marbles, dynamic auditorium lights, and unparalleled technological integrations.

Sanjeev Bijli said the chain had started out in 1997 after an agreement between Priya from India and Village Roadshow of Australia, and begun with Anupam PVR in Saket in South Delhi and grown in 20 years to its present capacity and along the way acquired the Cinemax and DT chains.

Earlier, at the press meet, Ajay Bijli regretted that the cinema had been treated as a luxury item despite fact that ticket prices varied between Rs 125 and Rs 550 and the blended tax under GST had been fixed at 28 per cent despite a demand for keeping it low at 18 per cent.

PVR CEO Gautam Dutta said that the marketing and consumer support had helped the keep its rates steady. He said that adequate publicity would be given to show timings when the rate was as low as Rs 125 to ensure consumer support. He said art and technology make for good cinema and, with the tastes of the consumer changing, it was important to keep ahead of the curve.

To a question, he said that both English and Indian blockbuster films would be screened at Chanakya, now.

Ajay Bijli said that 21 other screens were ready for launching in other places but the clearances for the Chanakya heritage property came early, and so this was the first to touch 600 screens.

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