Film Title: 30 movie tickets. The script is below

Chak De India has released. This movie being a Shah Rukh Khan starrer & a Yashraj production created a lot of buzz prior to its release & got a lot of people excited about it. It was no different with us. So about 30 of us exchanged chain emails for about a week & decided to watch this movie on the second day of its release. A few things about the ticket booking experience made me write this.

Our first option was Inox. Preferred because it is in the heart of the city. Inox has a wonderful call center facility set up. I called them quite a few times to clarify when the advance booking would start & if I could do bulk booking. The person speaking at the Inox end although formal & to the point was atleast there to clarify the doubts. But since we wanted the morning show & Inox was not playing Chak De India in the morning we couldn’t pursue it with them.

The nearest alternative to Inox was Rex. I called Rex & asked them if tickets were available for the morning show. As expected the receiver was a male who responded in Kannada and was in a great hurry to finish the call. He said tickets were available & had to be collected in person. Relieved, I rushed to Rex. After waiting for about 10 minutes in the advance booking line, when I reached the counter & said I wanted 30 tickets, the reaction from the counter guy was of shock. His reaction & what he said was something like, ‘are you crazy? How can you get 30 tickets?’ I explained to him that we were all friends/colleagues wanting to watch the movie together. He countered that by saying, ‘get a letter from the company’. His very uncooperative attitude told me that it wouldn’t make sense to explain to him that all 30 of us were not from the same company.

The next option was PVR. My friend gave me the PVR number that is getting promoted a lot on Airtel these days. This is a very different interactive system that they have. You are expected to speak out what you want & not like the other system of pressing a particular number to choose a particular option. It just didn’t click. Firstly there was no Chak De India as an option & secondly there was absolutely no way of reaching anybody at PVR either on that number or any other number. And this is not the first time this was happening. Fed up I called Innovative multiplex.

I asked the lady who answered the call at Innovative if they have a website. She said she didn’t know about it. Anyways when I asked her about the availability of the tickets she said ‘Yes’. Eventually we didn’t pursue Innovative because about 10 of them backed out of the plan if it was Innovative as it is far. We didn’t try the other single theatres because we felt we would get a similar response to what we got at Rex. Last option was to go to PVR in person.

I was at PVR at about 9:30 PM. My ride to Forum was fast as I feared the ticket counter would close (if not closed already). Strangely there was a nice crowd at the various ticket counters even at that hour despite it being a Wednesday. I finally booked the tickets across the counter by 10 PM after confirming with a few others if the first & second row of seats from the screen was OK.

The weekend prices of the tickets at PVR were Rs 200. At Innovative it was Rs 180 for the silver class & Rs 200 for the gold class. At Rex it was Rs 150. And at Inox it was Rs 250. When I reacted loudly to the Inox customer service executive that the price was too high she said, ‘Sir this is a big budget movie & it is the weekend’. Movies are expected to provide entertainment, relaxation & be a means to kill time. But the price tag of Rs 250 for a movie ticket is so unbelievably high isn’t it? On one side you pay 200 or 300 bucks for a movie & still sit just a few meters away from the screen & on the other side for a slightly cheaper ticket price you don’t enjoy the comfort of booking tickets in bulk. And you can book tickets at 10 in the night but you can’t reach them on phone. It’s like that famous buy one get one free. For one benefit that is given to you, you get a drawback free. I suppose the only consolation one hopes for after all this is a good movie. That too is far & few. A rarity than the norm. But call it luck, Shah Rukh Khan or something else, Chak De India was a great entertainer. We enjoyed it.

Alls well that ends well.

9 Comments so far

  1. Cindy (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 3:21 am

    If you were to see a movie here in the USA you would pay about $9-10. (about 360 to 400 rupees).
    At least you enjoyed the movie!

  2. shande (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    nice script with all kinds of emotions amd also happy ending. this can be a good bollywood movie :)

    Watching movies in bangalore is always an adventure. First of all there aren’t enough screens to meet the demand. For good movies, tickets will be sold out in a matter of hours, especially for weekends shows. Many a times(as in ur case) we have to compromise for seats first/second row from the screen.

    As mentioned by you paying 200+ for first/second row is not worthed. Why can’t multiplexes go for differential pricing depending on distance of seats from the screen.

  3. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    My friend’s daughter went and bought the tickets for the same movie at Rex…the tickets said, “Back Stall”, and cost Rs.120 each. We were four rows from the screen! I hate to think what the other tickets cost.

    But the fact is that for even those large sums of money, there seem to be people willing to buy them and see the movie, so can we blame only the movie theatres?

    I do agree that getting the tickets is a sport in obstacle course…this explains we almost never see movies, because when we decide on a Sunday morning, NOTHING is available!

  4. raag (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

    Initially, we too would buy these exorbitantly priced tickets and watch the movie at over-hyped PVRs and Inoxes. Of late, I have realised it is much much cheaper (and obviously, much more comfortable) to just rent a DVD and watch the movie at your own pace. Renting a DVD saves you money, hassle and of course, you help save the planet too (by not burning a ton of fossil fuel to reach these places thru the ever-chaotic bengaluru traffic).

  5. radhikac (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

    I think the exorbitant price we pay is for the brand value of the mall where the multiplex is, the infrastructure cost and of course misc marketing cost incurred by the multiples. They do have to recover all that cost somehow :)
    I think the midst of all these multiplexes, we tend to short change smaller theatres where the convenience may not match up to the bigger malls and theatres but its definitely a worthwhile option to pursue in banaglore where its next to impossible to get a ticket at a multiplex even if you are willing to shell out 300 bucks for a ticket!!
    Cauvery and Vaibhav in sadashiv nagar and sanjay nagar respectively are a couple of theatres that I personally know playing Chak de. We paid 100/- for balcony at Vaibhav and believe me at least had the peace of mind of watching the movie when we wanted to. :)

  6. Prashanth (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

    One of the likely reasons for rejection of giving you 30 block tickets is that I assume he thought that maybe you were a new kid on the block intending to sell the same in Black ;)

    With regard to the ticket prices, well, most English films (Hindi films are atleast showcased in other theatres which are bit affordable) are out of reach for most people due to the high cost of the ticket at Multiplexes and you dont have any other theatre that shows the same.

    When I see the roadside vendors of pirated DVD’s I do understand the reason for good sales by them since its the only way many people can watch without having to give a hand and leg in exchange.


  7. Sharath Bhat (unregistered) on August 19th, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

    Thought I’d take the family to see Chak De over the weekend. Checked my options online, called all the helpline numbers and drew a total blank. Looks like we really have to treat this as a “project”.

    A mission to get the right tickets, at the right price, on the right day. I know the last bit is asking for a little too much.

    Way back in the 70s, you could go to Rex 20 minutes before the movie started and be roughly 10th in the queue.

    Good post, Lokesh. Captures all the trials and tribulations.

  8. Lokesh (unregistered) on August 19th, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

    Thanks all for your comments. Movie going should be a fun & easy activity. Although a lot of thought is being given these days to the actual movie watching part, I guess a fair bit of thought should be given to the pre movie watching activities. But that said there are quite a few facilities being churned out in this area as well. PVR for instance has a ticket vending machine through which one can check the availability of tickets, choose seats & book tickets through the credit card. All nice. But some things that is not very happening is the cost of the ticket and of course the quality of movies. As far as the cost of the ticket is concerned I guess its a price one has to pay for living in an expensive city like Bangalore.

  9. Naren (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 11:31 am

    Congrats for watching Boxoffice Bombshell chek de! U could hav opted to book through

    Innovative is less then 15 mins drive from PVR.

    Price is unique in multiplexes dude. No matter its Bangalore or boston. Thats multiplex Price. Tryout in Pushpanjali or Jai bharat, I am sure u can write 2 blog posts dude.

    Some movies are classified as Multiplex hits. some movies are made just for multiplex audience.

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