The sorry state of Devi Theatres

Yesterday evening me and couple of friends decided to go for a Tamil movie. It was almost 8pm in the evening and I checked with Sathyam Cinemas only to find all shows full. We actually had no particular movie in mind. We decided to head straight to Devi theatre complex as I was quite confident that we would get tickets, if not over the counter, atleast in black.

There were four movies running. 23 Pulikesi, Uyir, Naalai and Thullara Vayasu. All were running to packed houses and the counters displayed “House Full”. Just outside the counter there were atleast 10 different people doing brisk business selling tickets in black. Each of them had atleast 75-100 tickets. One wonders if this is ploy by the theatre management itself. We paid Rs. 70 for a Rs.40 ticket for Uyir which was screening at Devi Bala, which is in the basement. The maintenance is zilch, the seats very bad and the whole place stinks. During intermission, despite a “No smoking” sign, people took no notice of that. The whole corridor was filled with smoke, reminded me of “Bhogi”. It looked so dangerous. Had there been a fire caused at that point, all of us I’m sure would have been history. Devi Kala is equally bad. Devi & Devi Paradise only slightly better.

All this in a theatre complex which until 10 years ago, was the city’s pride. Will the management wake up and match up to the Sathyam Cinemas and other multiplexes coming up in the city?

6 Comments so far

  1. vatsan (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    yes devi black ticketing is in collusion with the theatre owners, especially on weekends.


  2. Kaps (unregistered) on July 24th, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    Not just Devi, it happens in most of the theatres as the theatre owners are not very professional. Udhayam is another example that comes to mind


  3. Sankar (unregistered) on July 24th, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

    yeah… like kaps said, the black ticketing racket is definitely in a link with the theatre. By this, the theatre makes more money and they also project a picture that the movie is running full house and tickets are available only in black…
    pretty sad that the state of devi theatre is pathetic. Devi complex was one the best in chennai and i used to go there regularly. but now, it been ages since i have been there. Unless the management overhauls the theatre, it will definitely end up like alankar/saphire etc.


  4. John Adams (unregistered) on July 30th, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

    CHENNAI’S CURRENT MOVIE THEATRES ARE ALWAYS OVER CROWDED WITH EVERY CINEMA OWNER MINTING MONEY EVERY YEAR,YEAR AFTER YEAR,YET NONE OF THE THEATERS WITH THE ONE SOLITARY EXCEPTION OF SATHYAM CINEMAS OFFERS SOME KIND OF STATE OF THE ART FACILITIES,WORLD CLASS AMBIENCE OR AMENITIES WHICH EVERY CINEMA GOERS OF TODAY DEMAND FOR THE PRICE THEY PAY AND ARE WILLING TO PAY.ALMOST ALL THE THEATRES ARE ATLEAST A COUPLE OF DECADES OLD.MOST OF THE THEATRES LIKE THE DEVI THEATRE MENTIONED ABOVE AND MANY OTHER THEATRES IN THE CITY ARE VERY OLD,DIRTY AND VERY CHEAP,HAVE THE WORST SEATING COMFORT POSSIBLE,LOOK DINGY AND UNSAFE FOR THE FAMILY AS THEY HAVE A THIRD WORLD AMBIENCE AND SET UP.MOST OF ALL THEY HAVE TOTALLY INADEQUATE AND INEFFICIENT PARKING SYSTEM (WHICH IS SO ESSENTIAL IN A MULTIPLEX TODAY WITH SO MANY CARS AND BIKES AROUND).THEY ARE ALL DEVOID OF ANY CLASS AS VERY LITTLE EFFORT AND MONEY HAS BEEN PUT IN BY THE GREEDY MOVIE THEATRE OWNERS TOWARDS BRINGING THEM UP TO THE MODERN TIMES AND TO MEET PEOPLE’S ESSENTIAL NEEDS.IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT IN THE YEAR 2006 AND IN SUCH A LARGE METROPOLITAN CITY LIKE CHENNAI THERE ISNT EVEN A SINGLE NEWLY BUILT WORLD CLASS MODERN LARGE SIZE MULTIPLEX ANYWHERE AND ONE CANNOT EVEN WATCH AN ENGLISH MOVIE ANYWHERE IN THIS BIG CITY OF OURS OTHER THAN SATHYAM CINEMAS( WHICH BY ITSELF IS A 30 YEAR OLD COMPLEX).MAYAJAAL CANNOT REALLY BE COUNTED AS IT ALMOST OUTSIDE THE CITY IN THE PHERIPERAL AREA AND ALSO IT IS TOTALLY NEGLECTED COMPLEX OTHER THAN THE CINEPLEX AREA.NO WORLD CLASS MAINTAINACE ATALL THERE.MAYAMALL IS THE BIGGEST JOKE IN ORGANISED RETAIL AND MANGAEMENT.MANY HAVE COME FROM DELHI,MUMBAI,BANGALORE LAUGHED AT THIS PLACE,SCORNED AT US AND LEFT.CHENNAI IS MOVIE MAD CITY BE IT TAMIL,ENGLISH,HINDI OR EVEN TELUGU AND MALYALAM YET IT DOES NOT HAVE EVEN A HANDFUL WELL BUILT,WELL RUN AND PROFESSIONALLY MANAGED AND MAINTAINED(WITHOUT ANY BLACK TICKETING) MULTIPLEXES/CINEPLEXS ATALL.THE DEMAND FOR TRUELY WORLD CLASS MULTIPLEXES ESPECIALY INSIDE LARGE MALLS LIKE THE ONES YOU SEE IN EVERY OTHER METRO IN INDIA LIKE DELHI,MUMBAI,KOLKATA AND BANGALORE IS ENORMOOOUS.IT HAS NOT BEEN TAPPED ATALL BY ANY OF THE BIG COMPANIES/DEVELOPERS YET WITH EVER ONE ONLY FOCUSING THEIR INTREST OVERLY ON COMMERCIAL OFFICE/IT PROJECTS IN THE CITY.TO BE A TRUELY WORLD CLASS CITY CHENNAI NEED LARGE MALLS WITH MULTIPLEXES IN MANY PARTS OF THE CITY TO PROVIDE THE ENTERTAINMENT AND LEISURE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ALL AGES IN THE CITY WHO ARE LITERALLY STARVED OF,BY THERE COMPLETE ABSENCE TO DATE.THE ONLY GOOD NEWS IS THAT INOX LEISURE AND PVR CINEMAS ARE SET TO ENTER CHENNAI FINALLY AFTER HITTING EVERY OTHER METRO.CHENNAI COMES LAST AS ALWAYS WHEN IT COMES TO EMBRASSING WORLD CLASS ORGANISED RETAIL AND ENTERTAINMENT(MULTIPLEXES) AS ONE CONCEPT. EVERYONE WHO HEARD OF THE NEWS OF THE NEW MULTIPLEX ENTRANTS ARE VERY ANXIOUS TO SEE THEM OPEN SOON AT THE CHENNAI CITI CENTRE MALL AND AMPA MALL RESPECTIVELY,THE TWO FUTURE HOT SPOTS IN A SLOWLY CHANGING,EVOLVING CITY.HOWEVER FROM THE START CITI CENTRE HAS BEEN RIDLED WITH DELAYS AND PARKING PROBLEMS AND ONLY 4 SCREENS HAVE BEEN GIVEN LICENSE ARE SCHEDULED TO BE OPENED IN SEPT 2006 ALMOST HALF A YEAR AFTER ITS SCHEDULED OPENING.AMPA MALL IS ALSO LOOKING TO BE HEADING TO BE A DISASTER IN PLANNING,IMPLEMENTATION ETC AS ITS NO WHERE NEAR COMPLETION OWING LARGELY TO UNPROFESSIONAL CONSTRUCTION PROCESS AND LACK OF EFFICIENCY IN VARIOUS DIVISIONS IN THE PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION TEAMS.RITE NOW IT LOOKS LIKE A UNINSPIRING CONSTRUCTION SITE AS EVEN THE EXTERNAL STRUCTURE IS NOT COMPLETED YET.IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKELY TO BE OPENED ANYTIME EVEN IN 2007.I HOPE THE LIKES OF SHRINGAR CINEMAS,ADLABS,FUN REPUBLIC,CINEMAX ARE LOOKING SERIOUSLY INTO ENTERING THIS MOST LUCRATIVE AND PRODUCTIVE MARKET WITH THEIR UP COMING PROJECTS AND WITH MALL DEVELOPERS.WE CHENNAITES HAVE BEEN TREATED BADLY TO DATE AND NOT BEEN GIVEN THE DUE IMPORTANCE AS WE RITELY DESERVE IN THE ORGANISED RETAIL AND ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR.WE MUST STAND TOGETHER AND DEMAND A CHANGE SOON FOR US ALL,OUR FAMILES AND FRIENDS SO WE COULD ENJOY A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFESTYLE WHICH THE CITY RITELY SHOULD OFFER ITS CITIZENS.


  5. vinod (unregistered) on July 30th, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

    @john adams

    i quite agree with you, except for Sathyam there is no proper cinema with good facilities… it is in fact sad as Chennai is considered or was considered the Mecca of retailing… Lifestyle started in Chennai way way back, so was Ebony which is now shut, Globus and our very own Spencer’s… not to mention the gigantic saree shops…

    But, somewhere down the line, things have fallen apart and growth in the entertainment sector not really up to expectations… one can just hope and pray for better times ahead…


  6. bart (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

    Hi Vinod,
    I happened to see Pulikesi on July 20th in Devi theatre and was truly shocked at the maintenance and care. I too got in thanks to black ticket. The theatre is so huge and probably one of the very few left over 70 mm screens in the state(which the multiplexes do not have). But instead of using this unique feature to their advantage, the management seems to be careless in their attitude. Everything except the screen is a negative.
    Hope and wish things improve.



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