| The under-construction mall at the site of Ashok Cinema on Buddha Marg. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Single-screen theatres struggling to cater to the changing priorities of new-age cine buffs are eyeing to cash in on the success of Cinepolis, the sole multiplex in the state capital.
To start with, 63-year-old Ashok Cinema on Buddha Marg is planning a tie-up either with PVR Cinemas or Cinemax for a multiplex makeover.
“There would be three screens at the five-storeyed commercial complex being developed at the site of the old cinema. We are in talks with PVR Cinemas as well as Cinemax to operate the multiplex. The facility would be owned by us,” an Ashok Chitra Pvt. Ltd executive said.
According to sources, the ground, first and second floors of the new complex would have shops and banks. The third floor has been reserved for a food court. The fourth and the fifth floors would house the three screens of the multiplex. “Renovation work is going on and we expect to open the multiplex by April 2013,” the executive said.
Inaugurated by C. Rajagopalachari, the first and the only Indian to hold the post of Governor-General of India, Ashok Cinema is the second oldest theatre of the city. It was made centrally air-conditioned in 1974. The theatre was closed for renovation in December 2010.
The sources said the makeover plan of Ashok Cinema is rooted in the success of Mexico-based Cinepolis that runs the only multiplex in the state capital. Cinepolis, Patna, is on the fifth floor of P&M Mall in the Patliputra area. It was set up on July 22 last year with four screens. “We have crossed the customer base of 8,50,000 in one year and two months since inauguration. We are planning to set up more multiplexes,” a Cinepolis India Pvt. Ltd executive said.
Apart from Ashok Cinema, another multiplex with three screens is coming up at Vaishali Mall — the site of the old Vaishali Cinema — off Rajendra Nagar.
Elphinstone Theatre, the oldest cinema hall in Bihar, also adapting to the changing times. In the east of Gandhi Maidan, Elphinstone was set up in 1919 and is closed for renovation from December 2010. A three-storeyed building is coming up at the site of the old facility. The first floor would have a food court that can accommodate 150 to 200 people. The second and third floors would have a screen each with 500 seats.