The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Three-screen cineplex for hill town

Calcutta, April 17: It may be a perfect 10 for INOX but for Darjeeling, it's Multiplex No. 1.

This Friday onwards, the Rink Mall on Laden La Road will not be the same anymore with INOX (Darjeeling) throwing its three screens open. Perched 7,000 ft above sea level and converted from existing standalone theatres, the town's maiden cineplex has a total capacity of 811 seats.

With INOX coming to Darjeeling, patrons will get their first taste of the best movie-watching facilities, including state-of-the-art projection and acoustic systems, stadium-styled seating and reclining seats.

'Darjeeling interested us immensely since it's not just a hill station for tourists but the pride of the local people,' Manoj Bhatia, CEO of INOX Leisure Ltd, told The Telegraph. 'We are always on the lookout for opportunities and since we are not developers as such, we decided to refurbish the existing property.'

It took two months for the INOX people to completely turn around the theatres. Added Bhatia: 'It's obviously much easier to set up your own property since you know the exact measurements. But we have been able to give the place a completely new look by changing the carpet and setting up the concession (refreshment) area. It is very much a brand new multiplex now.'

The refurbishment has meant that the old-world charm of the place stays intact. So along with the regular seats, INOX (Darjeeling) will have special box seats for exclusive viewing. 'Those tickets will be the costliest and will come for around Rs 150. Then there is the opposite spectrum where people can watch for as little as Rs 40. With its flexible pricing and central location we expect the property to revolutionise movie-watching in the area,' revealed Bhatia.

Before the doors of INOX (Darjeeling) are officially opened on Friday, residents can watch free movies all of Wednesday with redemption coupons available in leading dailies. 'We are not sure which movies should do well in Darjeeling,' added Bhatia. 'We believe that Hindi films will continue to be the main draw as in our other properties but English movies should be well appreciated too.'

Apart from the two INOX properties in Calcutta ' at Forum and City Centre ' work is already underway on a new multiplex at Jessore Road which should be functional by end-2007. 'We are also looking at working on a property at Kharagpur. That will take the tally of INOX screens in Bengal to 20,' smiled the INOX CEO.

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