Lounge Review | Cinema eclipsed

Lounge Review | Cinema eclipsed
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First Published: Fri, Oct 07 2011. 09 20 PM IST

Luxury flight: The auditoriums simulate airline business-class service.
Luxury flight: The auditoriums simulate airline business-class service.
Updated: Fri, Oct 07 2011. 09 20 PM IST
Anew movie-watching concept called Director’s Cut by PVR Cinemas takes premium viewing a notch higher. Ajay Bijli, chairman and managing director, PVR Cinemas, calls it “a full-length experience”. The Rs 20 crore project in New Delhi’s Ambience Mall has four 3D-compliant auditoriums with seating varying from 25 to 108.
The good
Luxury flight: The auditoriums simulate airline business-class service.
Unlike PVR’s Gold Class—or similar premium experiences offered by other multiplex chains—where one auditorium has plush seats and seat service, the Director’s Cut is designed entirely as a luxury experience. All four auditoriums come with fully reclining seats and an airline-style remote to call a waiter. You can choose your drinks, main courses and desserts from an in-theatre menu. A bar, lounge and fine-dining restaurant greet you at the entrance; as does a store with quirky film memorabilia and DVDs for sale.
But more than its luxury trappings, the most interesting feature is the Director’s Rare programme which will screen independent films you’d be hard-pressed to find on the big screen: documentaries such as Catfish (2010) on social networking and Restrepo (2010)—the riveting film shot by photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed recently in Libya.
The not-so-good
Its namesake implies a director’s personal vision for his movie, untampered by market forces or the censor board. But be forewarned of the project’s title: It does not mean that you’re seeing a director’s cut of a film.
In fact, the title is rife with irony. Imagine watching Restrepo, shot in the deadliest valleys of Afghanistan, with a couple deliberating on pizza toppings beside you.
Bijli, who is aware of this concern, assured me beforehand that the staff was being trained for discreet service. They’re equipped with backlit tablets with a browse-through menu to minimize interaction with movie watchers. But despite the very courteous bearings of the staff, I did not discern this training. And in a city like Delhi, where people have a larger than life sense of entitlement, we fear that those paying Rs.1,050 for a ticket will think it is okay to holler at waiters just when you’re looking at Scarlett Johansson doing that thing with her lips.
What we’re saying is, this is a great outing for a first date or a birthday, but not for watching that Terrence Malick film you’ve been waiting to see all year.
Talk plastic
Introductory prices for tickets are Rs 1,050 (weekends) and Rs 850 (weekdays). These are likely to double. The food and wine buffets are priced at around Rs 1,000 each per head. The in-theatre food, which is strictly average, is overpriced. My rucola and truffle pizza, a lemon ice tea (I ordered an iced green tea) and a rich chocolate pastry were billed at Rs 911, including service charge and taxes.
It is the memorabilia store that is the real steal, with bags and wallets for Rs 699 and a fair range of DVDs priced under Rs 300.
PVR Director’s Cut is at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. There are plans to expand to Mumbai and Bangalore after testing the market in Delhi. For details, visit www.pvrdirectorscut.com
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First Published: Fri, Oct 07 2011. 09 20 PM IST
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