View: A strong case can be made for the robust revival of India's movie theatres

by Ajay Bijli

In my view, it is not the wisest thing to be a soothsayer in these uncertain and unusual times. This holds even if one is experienced in the field of which a future view is being sought.

Paint a rosy picture and you can be chastised for being overly optimistic in the wake of all the evidence to the contrary. Spell doomsday, and panic will follow amongst all stakeholders that were holding the fort of hope in the first place.

The truth is, one is not equipped; therefore, one should not try to do any crystal-ball gazing at all.

One could, of course, look at past examples and see whether the important elements that tided over the last crisis hold some lessons for the current situation. I am an optimist and would draw from the past and merge the positives of the current to conclude that there is a strong case for a robust revival.

Numerous precedents drive this view – recessions, world wars, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression. The examples are many. However, the cinema industry quickly adapted to these challenging times of the time – the dent to the wallet was smaller as compared to other expensive leisure activities like, say, travelling and eating out. People made a choice and went in droves to movie theatres.

In India, there are other positive pointers. It is a huge market and one with vast potential; the variety and quality of content is superb, and people simply love going to the movies. Customers have more disposable incomes, and this is demonstrated by the fact that 60% revenue of the film industry is from movie theatres. And then there is the obvious fact behind all this – going to the movies is the ultimate stress buster!

For business, and this applies to everyone who is an entrepreneur, we must look at two phases going forward: to vaccine, and then, from vaccine onwards. There will be an antidote and this crisis will be solved by what we humans do best: drive our indomitable spirit.

Finally, I am of the firm belief that mankind will not live half a life just because the world is half open. It is our nature, human nature to live a full life.

The writer is the Chairman of PVR Cinemas.


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