The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dancing duo, starry stop

It's a city that comes to a stop at the first hint of a strike. It's also a city that just cannot stop partying or going to the movies.

And for those busy dancing or screen-star gazing in the dark, the festive weeks should uncork a real frenzy.

Calcutta will have two new party places to go to this Durga puja, pushing the night club count into double figures. And before Diwali, Calcutta will have its fourth multiplex.

If Hotel Hindusthan International (HHI) is going Underground on October 8, B.E.D (bars, entertainment and dining) goes down south to Prince Anwar Shah Road the next day, Mahasashthi.

And headed further south, to Hiland Park, is Fame, the multiplex chain famous for its starry premieres in Mumbai, opening four screens pre-Diwali.

First, the draw of the disco. HHI is bringing the novel London Underground experience to its AJC Bose Road address.

'We have decided to make Underground your typical foot-tapping, adrenaline-pumping disc,' says D.K. Jaiswal, chairman and managing director, HHI.

Underground will, of course, be situated in the hotel basement, with the look and feel recreating the London Tube effect. The three corners have been named Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Oxford Street. The fourth corner will be the 600-sq-ft dance floor with an island bar in the middle.

'We will be selling drinks at 25 to 30 per cent lower than the other clubs. Another USP will be interactive lights, that dim and glow with the music decibel,' adds Jaiswal.

The second edition of B.E.D, in Princeton Club, will also be a typical discotheque, but defined by rich colours. 'We want the place to portray happiness and leisure,' says managing director Megha Vohra.

Based on Moroccan and Arabian themes, the spotlight will be on the dance floor, but with ample scope to just chill on a munch-and-mocktail mix.

And, living up to its name, there will be a king-sized bed tucked away in a secluded corner!

Next up, multiplex mania. After 89 Cinemas and INOX announced multiplicity plans, it's the turn of Shringar Cinemas to plot three Fame multiplexes by June 2007.

Kumar Katra, chief operating officer of Shringar Cinemas, told Metro: 'Our first four-screen multiplex at Hiland Park will be operational by Diwali. There is no real movie-watching option in the stretch between Ruby Hospital and Garia. So, we will be enjoying a good residential catchment area.'

After Hiland Park, there is talk of two other properties on Prince Anwar Shah Road and Rashbehari Avenue. 'Calcutta is still in a nascent stage of multiplexing and has a lot of potential,' added Katra, expecting a Mumbai-like impact of the chain here.

In Mumbai, Fame Adlabs (Andheri), Fame Malad and Fame Kandivali have been the hubs of Bollywood activity for the past three years with film premieres and celebrity events.

In Calcutta, Shringar Cinemas is planning a lot of add-ons like film clubs, film festivals and, of course, the big Bollywood bashes with a steady stream of stars flown down.

'It's not just about movie viewing, we are also looking at alternative content, like staging plays on the plex premises. We want to create a unique experience,' added Katra.

Even the movies won't be restricted to Bollywood and Hollywood. Apart from Tollywood fare, south Indian films will be screened to attract the migrant population from that part of the country.

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