Rajasthan, also dubbed the City of Royals for its culture and heritage, has plenty of film buffs. And since the state is exempted from entertainment tax, it has helped single-screens to flourish. One such cinema is Gopal Talkies in Alwar, the crowning glory of the town.
Co-owner of Gopal Talkies, Chandra Prakash Kataria, says, “The USP of our cinema is that we offer advance booking which no other cinema hall in the vicinity does. This also ensures that tickets won’t be sold on the black market. We also have separate booking and seating for women for their safety and comfort.”
The property, spread across 3,100 sq ft, is located close to other amenities in the city. This singleplex has a bright colour palette; it is clean and tidy; and includes plush facilities. With ample parking space and a comfortable environment, the vivacious and simple façade makes the property look appealing. The complex also lights up gaily at night. The lobby is subtle and bathes the building in a pleasant ambience.
The audience comprises mainly families and the college crowd. The cinema is well-patronised even though it is not air-conditioned but it does have a cooling system. With the total capacity of 750, the seats are sofa-styled and are divided into Box with 56 seats, Balcony 250 seats, Dress Circle 200 seats and lower stall is divided with 63 and 181 seats.
This single-screen is equipped with a mono sound system and the ticket prices are affordable and range from Rs 40 to Rs 60.
Even in the worst-case scenario, where a film is not a hit and runs only for a week, the cinema earns a handsome Rs 60,000. Kataria adds, “A hero-centric film works more than a film with an actress in the lead. Art films too don’t have a craze here. Action and rom-coms work well.”
According to Kataria, Salman Khan is a favourite among the local audience and has ruled the box-office with films like Bodyguard, Ready and Dabangg. Khan has an exceptionally good fan following here. In second place is Sunny Deol.
An added attraction is the concession stand, where patrons can snack on munchies such as popcorn, puffs and sandwiches. The closest competitors to Gopal Talkies in the vicinity are Ashok Picture Palace and Times group’s Gold Digital, a multiplex that opened recently.
Kataria concludes, “We are planning to tie up with a multiplex. Single-screens these days only have a 70 to 75 per cent occupancy. Re-runs too don’t work as TV channels buy the satellite rights and telecast film within two months of their release.”