Sudhish Kamath

Gearing up for competition from national multiplex brands, INOX and PVR The Sathyam theatre, one of the biggest halls in the country, will be split into multiple screens

CHENNAI: Sathyam Cinemas plans to launch 20 more theatres in three multiplexes in the city by 2008 to gear up for competition from national multiplex brands, INOX and PVR.

"We have approval for 12 screens at this venue," Kiran Reddy, managing director, Sathyam Cinemas, told The Hindu. "But we decided to go in for larger halls and will have a total of eight here."

The Sathyam theatre, one of the biggest halls in the country, will be split into multiple screens. The company has acquired sites at Kilpauk, on Poonamallee High Road, and Vadapalani for two more multiplexes. "We will have eight screens at the Kilpauk site and 10 at Vadapalani," he says.

Sathyam recently launched its 'Signature' series with its sixth theatre at Six Degrees, a luxury movie hall with premium pricing.

"Signature means we have a certain defined quality standard for our theatres for décor and comfort. We will renovate all our existing theatres as well to meet these standards. But as far as the quality of audio and video experience goes, all our screens already have state-of-the-art facilities."

Six Degrees has interiors designed by Vikram Phadke, lighting by Integrated Lighting Design, Brazilian wooden floors imported from Germany, leather seats from Stanley Leathers, Bangalore and wooden designer chairs for frontbenchers, designed by Michael Folly.

"Though we will use the same standards, the look will be different for every hall. Every auditorium presents an opportunity to create unique spaces. Most movie halls are just functional, they look like boxes with drapes in the side," says Mr. Kiran.

"We want to provide people with an entire experience of movie watching." So are the ticket prices going to soar? "This venue will end up becoming a premium venue because of its central location. The other multiplexes in Kilpauk and Vadapalani will be cheaper," he says.

Going digital

The multiplex plans to equip all its theatres with digital projection systems during the year. "Our IMAX project is waiting for approval. Because, there are some rules prescribed by the Cinematography Act that are dated. The act prescribes different viewing angles which differ from requirements for IMAX," explains Mr. Kiran.

Sathyam Cinemas also has plans for a multiplex in Kochi by 2008. "But we are looking at becoming a stronger local player than a national brand because our synergy is local. Our brand is local," he says.

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