‘Abirami’ Ramanathan feels that mall concept is not only for the big cities
In all of ‘Abirami’ Ramanathan’s innovations there is big money involved. And he is willing to take the risk. “More risk, more money; it is as simple as that. But your risk shouldn’t be foolish,” he hastens to add. The Managing Director of Abirami Mega Mall, Chennai, touted to be the first of its kind in South India, Mr. Ramanathan feels cinema these days is a buyer’s market and to grab the attention of people there is certainly a need for some ‘out of the box’ thinking. “The mall is more of a family entertainment centre. The prefectures housing snow world and other fun rides provide perfect amusement for the kids. Equally perfect eat outs are the multi-cuisine restaurants. The mall is also ideal for shopping freaks as it features a variety of items, from clothes to toys and jewelleries to CDs. Then unwind at the theatres to watch your favourite stars on screen,” he explains.
Mr. Ramanathan believes that the mall concept is not just for big cities but also suits tier-II cities like Tiruchi. “A mall will be an instant hit at a place where there is floating population. And Tiruchi is certainly one such centre and many here are cinema lovers. I should say that the theatre owners have not exploited it,” Mr. Ramanathan says, adding that he is in talks with some property owners in Tiruchi to set up a mall as a joint venture. Also a film distributor, Mr. Ramanathan bought the Chennai city rights for the Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Sivaji’ for a whopping sum. “When the news spread many felt that I had committed a blunder for paying a hefty amount. But I was quite confident. I released the film in 18 theatres in the city and it paved way for several thousands of people to watch the movie in theatres across the city near-simultaneously. When they were getting tickets pretty easily for a magnum opus, where was the need for them to go for pirated DVDs? That was my strategy and it worked out very well,” he details.
A laugh riot
Mr. Ramanathan is producing a film, which, according to him, would be a laugh riot. Raju Eswaran, who worked as an assistant director in the Hollywood flick ‘Blood Stone,’ is wielding the megaphone. Vadivelu is donning a vital mantle in the movie. “It is a full length comedy movie and I guarantee that all the 80 scenes in the film would evoke laughter. I believe that a humour film is always a safe bet at the box office,” he says.
Mr. Ramanathan is a service-minded person and through the Sri Ramajeyam Charitable Trust he has been carrying out a lot of welfare activities. “We devote twenty per cent of our profit to charity, keep twenty per cent for ourselves and invest the remaining back into business. It serves every purpose,” he wraps up.G. PRASAD