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Friday, October 22, 2021

Reopens after close to two years: PVR Anupam, India’s first multiplex, gets a new name, features

On Thursday, after almost two years, PVR Anupam opened in a revamped avatar as PVR Saket. The highlight of the evening was a special screening of the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die.

Written by Ektaa Malik | New Delhi |
Updated: October 1, 2021 7:33:33 am
pvr anupam delhi pvr open covidThe theatre reopened with special screening of the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Twenty four years ago, a sleepy corner in South Delhi buzzed with words such as ‘Multiplex’ and ‘Dolby Sound’. An Australian company, Village Roadshow, had come to India and helped open the first-ever ‘multiplex’: it was PVR Anupam, the brainchild of PVR Ltd chairperson Ajay Bijli.

At that time, PVR Anupam delivered the unthinkable to the audience — a theatre with four screens, which meant four films playing simultaneously. It was not just a big deal for Delhi, but for India too as it was the first-ever multiplex in the country.

On Thursday, after almost two years, PVR Anupam opened in a revamped avatar as PVR Saket. The highlight of the evening was a special screening of the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die.

“PVR Saket is extremely close to our heart, as it was the first multiplex in India. It’s our legacy property,” said Bijli.

The renovated complex has four screens and collectively offers seating for about 700 people. The halls are equipped with Christie 4K projectors, with Clarus and Perlux screens. The sound is courtesy Dolby Atmos.

With the pandemic making a dent in the earnings of cinema halls and distributors, things are looking up for cinema halls as they reopen.

“It’s in our DNA, watching films on the big screen. The effects of the pandemic will stay in our memory for a while. It has been a tough time for the entire world, but hopefully, we will come back. No Time to Die was ready in late 2019, but they all waited for theatres to reopen and experience it on the big screens,” added Bijli.

PVR Anupam, over the past decades, had become the lodestone that attracted a whole community. An open market space soon flourished and thrived and PVR Anupam became the ‘IT’ place for youngsters and families alike. The people at PVR used the lockdown as an opportunity to renovate it.

While many have hailed the reopening, residents are worried that a busy multiplex would cause many problems.

“There is a massive problem of encroachment. The community centre had a fountain, now it doesn’t function anymore. Every time a film show gets over, the road would have a massive traffic gridlock,” said Kapil Nathani, who lives near PVR Saket.

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