Delhi's Odeon cinema reopens with grand new look

The seven-decade-old Odeon cinema reopened its gates Friday to movie aficionados with a plush new look and much-awaited movies “Kaminey” and “Life Partner”. 

The shutdown three years ago for renovation after collaboration with the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)-owned Big Cinemas, the heritage property now called Odeon Big Cinemas reopened with six shows of Vishal Bharadwaj's “Kaminey” and five shows of Rumi Jaffrey's “Life Partner”.

"Odeon Big Cinemas has been refurbished with state-of-the-art facilities and opulent interiors, which blend today's audience requirements with the theatre's nostalgic charm,” Tusshar Dhingra, COO of Big cinemas, told IANS here Friday evening.

"It has taken us three years to build it and it's a passionate project for us. We have gone on a no-holds barred research in making it with great detail and pride. It holds a very special place for us and the initial reaction from the audiences is very encouraging despite there being no advertising about its reopening,” he said.

"We've had two houseful shows for 'Kaminey' since the morning,” Dhingra added.
The upgraded property got its licenses and other formalities done Thursday.

Converted into a two-screen theatre with a combined seating capacity of 592, down from its earlier 1,000, it is the first multiplex in Connaught Place and Big Cinemas' first venture in the capital.

The new property boasts of white and gold minimalistic interiors, surrounded by olive green seating lounges. Noteworthy are the washrooms that house special dressing rooms, accessorised with personalised utilities.

Dhingra was also confident of an upper-hand in terms of competition with the other two heritage cinema halls - PVR Plaza and PVR Rivoli - in the vicinity.

"We will have a programming advantage because of two screens (both PVR properties are single-screens). PVR has a huge leg-up of being here (in Delhi) for the last 10 years but CP can still take three or four more screens and we are well-placed in that sense,” he said.  

A property of the well-known theatre owners Sahni brothers, Odeon came into existence in 1939 and used to screen English movies.

This is its second makeover - it was first renovated in 1960 and inaugurated by then Indian vice-president S. Radhakrishnan.

The first film to be screened post-upgradation then was Robert Mulligan's "Come September".

Also present at the relaunch Friday was the star cast of “Life Partner” - actors Tusshar Kapoor, Prachi Desai and Genelia D'Souza.

Apart from Hindi, the multiplex will also screen English content and world cinema, Dhingra added.

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