Know Your Place: Rohini Silver Screens, the Mecca of Chennai’s First Day First Show Celebration | News Bharat

Cinema and the celebrations that accompany it are like a match made in heaven. The craze for movie releases and star celebrations is even higher when it comes to movie buffs in Tamil Nadu.

The craze goes to such an extent that people fly to Chennai to witness the madness that happens on the release day of a superstar’s film.

Established in the 1980s on Poonamalle High Road in Koyambedu on the outskirts of Chennai, Rohini Silver Screens is among the best theaters in the city, which is called the Mecca of First Day First Show celebrations, popularly called FDFS. Set up by Panneerselvam, the theater now has over 2,000 seats and has become the first choice for movie buffs on the release day of a movie.

Even during the airing of special shows to celebrate a film star’s birthday or during the reruns of a hit film, fans would love to flock to Rohini.

“When my father bought this land, the whole area was more like a dense forest. Back then, Mount Road was the hub of cinemas. It used to have 10-15 screens. There were no farm or other buildings here, as it was on the outskirts of the city. But still, my father took a risk and bought this land, says Revanth Charan, 27, CEO of Rohini Cinemas.

After 2000, the economy started booming, the city started growing and Rohini also prospered. The Greater Chennai Corporation spread its wings and the area where the theater is located became part of the city and Rohini Cinemas became a key player in the industry. “Our job is to preserve that and do it in a way that suits this generation. My brother Nikilesh Surya (29) and I took over the reins of the theater in 2015 and then renovated the building. The first film we screened after the revamp was ‘Kabali’ with Rajnikanth. We couldn’t be happier,” smiles Revanth.

Revanth shares the secret behind their company’s name with others and says his father’s star sign is ‘Rohini’. Today, the theater in Koyambedu has almost seven halls.

When asked about the fans’ connection with Rohini, Revanth says fans have nicknamed the theater ‘Fans Fort’ and he and his team have done many things to attract their participation. He says that major film stars are coming to Rohini to watch the FDFS of their film along with their fans.

Highlighting his democratic perception, Revanth says, “Rohini is by the fans and for the fans. Here they will have the experience of a lifetime. Unlike other theaters in the city, fans can celebrate their stars here. They don’t have that many restrictions here. But at the same time, there have been cases in the past where some of them damaged seats, screens, etc. We can’t invest in a new screen every month. This affects fans who want to watch the movie on the same screen in subsequent broadcasts. We plan a lot to please the fans, but certain events like this really hurt us. If the fans are responsible enough, we are ready to give them all the freedom.”

Belonging to the Generation Z league, Revanth says he can understand the vibe of the current generation and knows exactly what a fan wants to do for their star.

“To secure a seat for FDFS, fans not only from Tamil Nadu but even from other states and countries visit Rohini,” says Revanth, recalling an incident where a fan flew all the way from Tokyo to witness the celebrations of a Rajinikanth film . Rohini Cinemas receives emails, messages on WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media platforms before the release of the movie asking for a lot of tickets. “It doesn’t just happen for FDFS, it also happens for special shows celebrating their favorite star’s birthday. In the theater we have a pink light that goes back and forth during special moments in the movie. We were the ones who started this trend and it became a huge hit among moviegoers.”

Procedure for FDFS at Rohini

Explaining the preparations going on at FDFS in Rohini, the CEO says the big thing is the ticket. “Although we put our fans first, we cannot really avoid asking others, including our family members, friends, politicians and police personnel. We want to make everyone happy, but practically it is not always possible,” says Revanth. One day before the first screening of the play, the team conducts a complete sound and lighting inspection. “If it’s a 4 a.m. show right from the night before, we do a full theater check, including the cleanliness of the seats and restrooms. We are looking for police protection, hiring bouncers and deputing more personnel to control the crowds and protect our property,” The management is making arrangements at its own expense, while the fan club does its part by organizing percussion music ‘mela talam’, engaging folk performers and other things.

Another thing that Revanth points out is regarding the Key Delivery Message (KDM). “There were many problems with receiving KDM on time. We will see fans celebrating outside the cinema, bursting crackers, but would not receive KDM due to financial problems from the film producers. Theater owners will be vigilant until the problem is resolved. FDFS may look fancy from the outside, but it is a lot of work,” Revanth noted.

Revanth admits that unlike earlier times, there is a lot of competition in the industry. There are nearly 25 movie theaters and multiplexes within a radius of 5 kilometers from his theater. “That’s why we continue to strive and do as many things as possible to maintain and keep their fans engaged. At the same time, the management is friendly with other theater owners and discusses things in WhatsApp groups,” he says.

Rohini Cinemas has Dolby Atmos on three of its screens, a 4K projection system and state-of-the-art seating imported from Mumbai.

The advantage of Rohini Cinemas over its competitors is that they have seven halls. That way, a person who couldn’t book online can still walk into the theater, pick up a ticket at the counter, and watch a movie on any screen. “There are also many colleges here. Hence, students tend to fill up their classes and reach Rohini,” jokes Revanth.

When asked about the theater owner’s stance on the constant pressure of fans urging them to ensure that the film’s release is updated in their theatres, Revanth says that it is getting tough day by day but they are still trying to do their best.

‘Fans really don’t need to bother with a movie collection’

“Honestly, social media is both a boon and a bane. We welcome feedback from fans. If we make one mistake, it’s immediately on social media. We have to be very careful. At the same time, fans ask us many other things, especially about movie collections. We provide them with a place for celebrations; to do everything in their power to provide a rich theater experience. But they go to the extent of asking about the film’s collection report or commenting on the film star’s salary, distribution price, etc., which I don’t think they need to bother with,” opines Revanth, who disapproves of showing all the details. on social networks, as it leads to the growth of many fake followers.

“They randomly put up some numbers to create some fanfare, which prompts the producers and others involved in the business to clarify,” says Revanth, who says that every year the Rohini team waits until December to release a list of 10 films that are collected the most.

This year, according to Revanth, has been good so far as there have been many surprises with many small films doing extremely well at the box office.

The CEO claimed that exhibitors only get about 30 percent of the ticket price, with the rest going to the distributor. He said they have to manage all of the theater’s expenses, including staff salaries, within that 30 percent, so they’ve raised food and beverage prices at the theater complex, since snacks and parking are the only areas where they make a significant profit. Citing the examples of cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai, he says fares in Tamil Nadu are much lower than in other states.

“Reopening theaters and how OTT is not a threat”

Revanth noted that business was good this year compared to 2021. He claimed that the theater business was the worst affected among all businesses during the quarantine period as theaters were the first to close and the last to open.

Although the government allowed theaters to open, there was public fear due to the many myths and theories related to the spread of the virus. Whether it’s open or not, we have to pay the staff, turn on the projectors every three days, turn on the air conditioning, and clean the seats. Those were dark days. Thalapathy (Vijay) starrer ‘Master’ brought people back to cinemas. We are recovering from the stress we endured during the lockdown,” he adds.

He refuted the perception that the OTT platform will affect cinema attendance and claimed that people are willing to watch movies in theaters and enjoy the atmosphere.

“Not all films will get space on OTT. Theaters help these small films. A star or a technician has a greater reach if the films have a theatrical release. To give one example, a brilliant film like ‘Sarpatta Parambarai’ would have been a huge hit if it had been released in theaters and the market value of its actor and director would have gone up manifold which would ultimately help them during their next film release ,” Revanth said.

Big question: How is Rohini preparing for Pongal?

On how prepared they are for the clash of dates between Vijay-starrer ‘Varisu’ and Ajith’s ‘Thunivu’, which is slated to release during Pongal, Revanth says they are still making plans as these are Tamil cinema’s biggest releases.

“Vijay and Ajith are the two biggest stars of Tamil cinema and there is no need to think about it. “Varisu” and “Thunivu” are ready for Pongal release and we have already started working towards it. Before the release day, we will initiate talks with the representatives of both the players’ fan clubs,” says Revanth. Right from allocating the same shows on the main screen to putting up banners, posters, Rohini Cinemas is planning to make things smoother so that both the fan segments are not disappointed. “We’ve been planning countless celebrations since the beginning of December,” he said.

Rohini Cinemas, which has set up a theater in Tindivanam, is preparing three more screens for Pongal. Revanth said that they plan to introduce screens in as many districts as possible so that people can experience the same atmosphere as in Koyambedu.

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