New Delhi, Feb 13 (DPA) India's leading multiplex chain PVR Ltd will set up a joint venture with Thailand's largest cinema chain, Major Cineplex Group, to operate bowling alleys in India.
'We are aiming to set up 200 bowling lanes in major cities throughout India in three years,' Gautam Dutta, CEO of Cine Media of PVR, told IANS on phone from Bangkok.
'The first bowling alley will come up in six months from now in Ambience mall in Gurgaon (near Delhi). It will have 24 lanes and a karaoke centre. We also plan to have ice-skating there.'
Major Cineplex has 49 percent stake and PVR has 51 percent in the joint venture, announced Tuesday, with a registered capital of Rs.90 million ($2.3 million).
Dutta said while PVR pioneered the multiplex business in India, Major Cineplex is an established name in setting up bowling alleys in the world.
A listed company of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Major Cineplex currently operates about 500 bowling lanes in Thailand. The multi-cinema operator has over the past decade introduced a successful entertainment formula at its outlets that includes cinemas, bowling, karaoke centres, ice-skating and fitness centres.
'We have tied up with Major Cineplex because they are hugely successful in Thailand. Secondly, we needed someone who has the technical know-how and how to run this business,' said Dutta.
Ajay Bijli, chairman and managing director of PVR Ltd, set up the first multiplex in Saket in south Delhi in 1997. The number of multiplexes has now crossed 400 across the country with about 20,000 screens.
PVR Ltd, which brought this concept to India, has a total of 95 screens in 22 multiplexes across India, Fun Cinemas has 50 screens in 11 cities, Inox Leisure Ltd has 19 multiplexes with 65 screens and Adlabs Cinemas has no less than 100 screens in 22 cities.
On the bowling alleys, Dutta said: 'We will try to either have the bowling alleys adjacent to out multiplexes or close by. A bowling alley needs almost 40 to 50 sq ft area, so it is not easy to get the space.
'As far as bar facilities are concerned within the alleys, we will apply for the license to server liquor. But we will have this karaoke room with a plasma TV where people can sit, drink and sing together.'
Sanjeev Bijli, managing director of the PVR joint venture, was quoted as saying: 'We have seen great potential for bowling alleys and other entertainment formats in India, particularly in key cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, due to their large populations and similar entertainment cultures to that of Thailand.'