Advertisement
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
I-Day Special

Bollywood Newsreel: The Story Of Indian Movies, From B&W Masterpieces To OTT Boom

Single-screen cinema to OTT, the story of PVR multiplexes and Balaji Telefilms encapsulates the trajectory of popular entertainment in post-liberalisation India

Bollywood Newsreel: The Story Of Indian Movies, From B&W Masterpieces To OTT Boom
Bollywood Newsreel: The Story Of Indian Movies, From B&W Masterpieces To OTT Boom
outlookindia.com
2021-08-14T08:40:42+05:30

It was the wrong time to get into the movie-theatre business. A few years after Krishan Mohan, the patriarch of the Delhi-based Bijli family, bought Priya Cinema in 1978, the VHS boom engulfed the country. Thanks to the late PM Rajiv Gandhi’s liberal import policies in the 1980s, VCPs and VCRs suddenly became available at affordable prices. The middle class and the rich sat in their living rooms and bedrooms and watched Bollywood and Hollywood movies on pirated and original video cassettes. Cities and small towns were soon dotted with video libraries that rented them out. Not many wanted to go to cinema halls.

At that time, theatres had single screens with five daily shows. As video cassettes wrecked the theatre business, most halls were rendered decre­pit with lack of upkeep. Strangely, cinema tickets were included under the Essential Commodities Act those days, and their prices capped at Rs 10-12. Every state had its own ceiling price, and entertainment tax was as high as 100 per cent. “These factors left the entire film theatre circuit—then comprising around 10,000-odd screens nationwide—without much profits, and the halls suffered,” remembers Ajay Bijli, Krishan’s son and founder of the PVR Group. “There was no air-conditioning, neither did owners invest in upgrading sound or projection technology.”

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

India Needs To Speed Up Vaccination In View Of Omicron: Top Virologist Shahid Jameel

India Needs To Speed Up Vaccination In View Of Omicron: Top Virologist Shahid Jameel

Eminent virologist Shahid Jameel speaks to Outlook about the new Covid variant Omicron and its implications.

Omicron: WHO Warns World Should Be Wide Awake

Omicron: WHO Warns World Should Be Wide Awake

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the emergence of the highly mutated omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is.

Omicron Scare Looms Over IND Tour Of SA, BCCI Awaits Govt Nod

Omicron Scare Looms Over IND Tour Of SA, BCCI Awaits Govt Nod

Several sporting events have been cancelled due to the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron. India are scheduled to tour South Africa for a full series.

How New Covid-19 Variant Is Impacting Travel Across States In India

How New Covid-19 Variant Is Impacting Travel Across States In India

India has issued fresh travel restrictions for international travellers coming from 'at risk' nations in the wake of the Omicron outbreak across several countries in the world.

Advertisement