It has been a big year for Tushar Dhingra, chief operating officer of Indian exhibitor Adlabs Cinemas, which in recent weeks fell in line with the branding of corporate parent Reliance Big Entertainment and brazenly became BIG Cinemas.
The exhib operation is now changing the way Indians go to the movies. BIG Cinemas has 186 screens and claims to operate more than a quarter of the country’s branded cinemas. Those are still small numbers in a country as large and as movie-mad as India, and development for all multiplex chains has been hampered by slower-than-anticipated building of shopping malls. But Dhingra’s plan is to accelerate conversion of single-screen sites into five- and six-screen plexes and introduce, in eight cities, megaplexes with 18 screens or more.
Company is already at the forefront of digital cinema. As Adlabs, it experimented with e-cinema, but since the Reliance takeover it has instead pushed ahead with full DCI-compliant d-cinema. That effort sits well alongside Adlabs’ 4K digital lab in Mumbai and also with delivery of movies to multiplexes via Reliance Communications’ optical cable network.