Movies are arguably one of the best options for entertainment that we have. They transcend the boundaries of age, cultural background and choices, and it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that watching a movie in a dimly-lit theatre is the favourite pastime for millions of people.
The tragedy is that while urban areas are teeming with multiplexes that run several shows in a single day, thousands of villages still wait for that one opportunity in several months to watch a movie.
Food, clothing and shelter might be the basic necessities of man, but entertainment should not be ignored. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all.
So, Sushil Chaudhary, an engineer by profession decided to fill this void through his initiative, PictureTime!
Started in October 2015, PictureTime takes movies to the remote parts of India, through mobile movie theatres.
Speaking to The Better India, he says, “Cable television and the digital revolution definitely played a role in the decline of movie theatres in India. However, in my view, the main reason for the decline is that the single-screen cinema theatre business could not adapt itself to the changing times— particularly so in rural India. While multiplexes have taken over the market in the metros and mini metros, they have not penetrated rural India, as a result of which the people are deprived of a grand cinematic experience. I wanted a platform that was portable, independent of real-estate, low on regulatory compliances as well as ready to showcase the latest films. PictureTime, was thus, the perfect solution.”
For many people, an experience at a multiplex is a luxury in itself, thanks to the high prices and in many cases, the distance they have to travel to reach the theatre.
However, Chaudhary’s PictureTime entertains the masses at a fraction of the cost. The Mobile Digital Movie Theatre, called Digiplex, is completed with a Dolby surround sound system and an air-conditioned, inflated theatre room.
Under the project, Chaudhary and his team travel from Himachal Pradesh in the north to Andhra Pradesh in the south.
“PictureTime provides unique dual benefits to the rural population of India—a state-of-the-art cinema experience as well as a medium of outreach for both social messaging and private advertising—all under a single umbrella. By offering low-cost mobile cinema halls, the venture will help address the severe cinema theatre crunch by increasing the screen count in remote parts of the country,” he told YourStory.
Tying up with film-industry experts like Satish Kaushik and Kulmeet Makkar, PictureTime is all set to go in the right direction.
“We have covered 14 states as of now like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and others. We do a maximum of 4 shows every day in the tier 3 cities of these states and use 2K and E-cinema projectors and Qube/UFO servers for cinema projection,” says Chaudhary.
Explaining how the mobile theatre works, he told the Daily News and Analysis, “Within two-and-a-half hours, the mobile Digiplex cinema theatre can be made fully functional, complete with seating arrangements and world-class high-definition digital projectors and 5.1 Dolby surround sound for a high-quality cinema experience.”
And the entire theatre (once deflated) can fit into one truck!
What started as a source of entertainment, eventually became a tool to educate the masses. A mobile theatre with air-conditioning and high-quality visuals is bound to attract people, and Chaudhary used this curiosity to impart social awareness within the rural population.
“Our aim is to use technology to not only provide high-quality entertainment to rural India but to also use our mobile Digiplex cinema theatres as an outreach vehicle to generate awareness on educational and government schemes on initiatives around Digital India, Skill India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan,” he states.
With about four shows in 14 states in India currently, the founder and CEO hopes to increase the numbers by leaps and bounds, in the near future.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, he says, ” Most of the families are excited to see PT bringing new releases to their vicinity and offering multiplex par experience. Our milestone for this financial year is 120 units and the target for the next three years is 3,000 units up and running.”
With PictureTime, movies are no longer restricted to only the urban elites. With all the amenities of a multiplex but rates that are incredibly affordable, PictureTime is what you can call the perfect entertainment package!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)