Chennai: Films buffs in Chennai are getting the maximum viewing pleasure: more multiplex chains are setting up shop in the city and the government has put a ceiling on ticket prices.
Inox Leisure plans to open two more halls in the city and PVR Cinemas is planning a multiplex. This boom couldn't have come at a better time, as the state government has put a ceiling on ticket prices. Chennai residents have to pay a maximum of Rs 120 at multiplexes unlike the other cities where the price ranges from Rs 150 to Rs 200.
Inox is upbeat about its plans in Chennai but says the ceiling on ticket prices is a “blow”. “It came as a blow to us when the state govt passed this order. We have priced our tickets at Rs 120, but we will ask the state government to consider removing the cap,” says Alok Tandon, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Inox Leisure.
Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country where 10 per cent of seats in theatres must be given away for Rs 10. These ‘Gandhi seats’ enable Chennai residents to watch movies in good theatres without blowing a hole in their pockets.
Vijaya, a college student, says she would prefer older halls like Sathyam where tickets are cheaper.
“Paying Rs 120 for a movie ticket is out of the question. That's barely how much I earn every day,” says autorickshaw driver M R K Gopal.
New halls mean that Chennai residents get more choice. Does this worry the city's established multiplexes?
“Potentially some of out high-end customers could make a choice and watch a movie at Inox but I don’t think it’s a significant issue,” says Tan Ngaronga, COO, Sathyam Cinemas.