Special Report: TOLLY STARS MEET THEIR FANS IN THE DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL AN INOX LEISURE LTD ENTERPRISE
Never before did cinema lovers in West Bengal districts of Burdwan, Durgapur, Siliguri and Darjeeling dream of meeting their favourite stars from the tinsel world of Tollywood, much less talking to them directly and interacting with them on the very day when their film is also being screened at the theatres in their cities. Inox Leisure Ltd. Enterprise has given their wildest dreams a real, flesh-and-blood entity by taking their stars to them. Over the past two years, patrons who crowd at their local INOX multiplex have been able to meet and talk to actors like Rahul and Priyanka when they came to Burdwan in connection with the promotion and release of their big hit Chirodini Tumi Je Amar. The ticket counters spilled over with crowds, waiting for their access to the films they had come to watch so that they could also hobnob with the stars in these films before and after the screening. INOX Leisure Ltd that looks after the Eastern and North Eastern region of their exhibition and distribution business has made this possible, bringing in bigger business in the districts and also reaching out to famous stars of Bengali cinema by giving them the opportunity of meeting their fans in person.
Over the past couple of years, the patrons of INOX at Burdwan, Darjeeling, Siliguri and Durgapur have met their favourite stars Dev and Subhasree when they came down during the promotional programme of their film Challenge that became a big hit. They have had the chance of seeing Jeet and Koel Mullick during the premiere of Saat Pake Bandha, Rituparna Sengupta and Suman Mukhopadhyay during the screening of Chaturanga, Soham who came to promote his film Amanush and so on. Flexi-timing and flexi-pricing of shows, enables all cross-sections of patrons to watch movies. What’s more thrilling is the stars who drive down the long journey, at times rickety and rough, from Kolkata to Durgapur, Burdwan, Siliguri and Darjeeling, they are thrilled when they find how far and wide their fame has spread and this keeps them on their toes to perform better so that their audience does not feel let down.
“Commercial Bengali releases are the main draw at the district properties. The response has been so overwhelming that we had organised for a tryst with the stars for the district audiences by organising frequent star visits at our Burdwan and Durgapur properties. Visits by Tollywood stars for an interaction with patrons have received mass adulation from patrons. This has almost created a trend of sorts with houseful occupancy in the shows where the stars interact with their fans and patrons enquiring about visits before the release of a blockbuster Tolly film,” says Srijita Chatterjee, Manager, Corporate Communications (East), INOX Leisure Ltd. “More properties in the districts are lined up with one more property in Siliguri on the anvil and properties in Liluah (Howrah), Haldia, Kharagpur etc.,” she adds.
Hindi cinema is not left alone to wallow in neglect. Operation associates at INOX Burdwan sported the Ghajini hairstyle in a unique and first of-its-kind movie promotion initiative. The activity got an unprecedented response among awe-struck patrons. The word spread like wild fire and even before the film released. Patrons flocked to the multiplex creating tremendous word-of-mouth publicity and hype which led to record footfalls at INOX Burdwan in the opening weekend. Fashion shows organized during the movie Fashion, Karate shows during the release of Chandni Chowk to China are certain innovative movie promotion initiatives that garnered huge response from patrons.
The uninitiated would like to know that INOX hss already acquired Calcutta Cine Pvt Ltd (CCPL), a Bengal Ambuja company. This acquisition kick-started the consolidation phase for INOX and it acquired access to nine more multiplexes in West Bengal and Assam. INOX currently has around 30 operational properties with 109 screens and a seating capacity of 31,401 in 21 cities across India. Fame has 25 operational multiplexes with 95 screens and a seating capacity of 26,487 in 12 cities. INOX entered the field of film exhibitioin, distribution, promotion and marketing around eight years ago. Today, it is one of the biggest players in the Indian multiplex map and is constantly widening its horizons of geography and operations.
by Shoma A. Chatterji