For many movie buffs, cinema sans popcorn is not a complete experience. With the advent of multiplexes and changing lifestyle, theatres have opened new doors to the reel heaven. The experience, however, comes at an exorbitant price, whether it is tickets, popcorn, or items at food court.

Movie-goers find no control over prices at canteens in theatres. Soft drink is sold for a price not less than Rs.15 though it costs just Rs.10 or even less outside. Popcorn, which is much sought-after by children and adults alike, is sold for a price the canteen owner feels fit. It varies from theatre to theatre. There are instances when people bought a packet of popcorn for Rs.25.

“Theatre owners are cashing in on the exclusivity. If a customer gets hungry or thirsty in the cinema hall, he or she has only one option – buy at the price quoted by the canteen owner,” says K.V. Narasimha Rao, a resident of Railway Colony.

With growing multiplex culture in the city, there are, however, divergent views on rates. People, mostly youth, feel they don't mind paying extra amount for the ambience, feel, and facilities that are provided at the theatres.

“For me experience is important. The idea of sinking down into a seat with a bag of buttery popcorn in one hand and a cool drink in the other holds a special appeal. Spending a couple of rupees more doesn't matter,” says S. Teja, a resident of Krishnalanka, who just completed B.Tech.

Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal says they are contemplating putting a system in place. The prices at canteen are being worked out. Three canteens in two theatres were seized on Wednesday, he said.

Officials say the problem rests with movie-goers also. They engross themselves in the movie and give least priority to the sanitation aspect.

“Generally, they don't complain about stale food or sanitation in theatres,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health M. Satyanarayana Raju. In the recent inspections, no theatre was found to be selling stale food, he said.