This single-screen in Madhya Pradesh has an unusual USP – screening re-runs
In 1970, Burhanpur, a modest-size town in Madhya Pradesh, saw the inauguration of an entertainment hub in the vicinity. Kicking off with the screening of Sharafat (toplining Dharmendra and Hema Malini), Bharat Talkies is still the most popular single screen here.
Its owner, Sanjay Dumbani, whose father launched the cinema hall, makes a telling comment on the business of Hindi cinema today. “We prefer screening re-runs because the audience we cater to likes the typical musical and masala-type Hindi films. We prefer re-runs also because new films are unable to do good business, which means huge losses for us. With re-runs, we earn some profits.”
Spread across 12,000 square feet, Bharat Talkies is simple and elegant and accommodates parking space for both two-wheelers and cars. Inside, the building is plain and yet stylish, with wooden panels on the walls and marble flooring. Movie posters are placed in glass cases on the walls, showcasing the film being screened.
Bharat Talkies also screens English films dubbed in Hindi to cater to a wider audience, which usually comprises male viewers in the Upper Stall and students and families who prefer Balcony. With a seating capacity of 691, tickets are priced at just Rs 20 for Balcony and Rs 15 for Upper Stall with individual capacities of 125 and 566 respectively.Equipped with a mono mixer sound system and a huge screen size, Bharat Talkies is best-equipped apt to screen older films.
Renovated in 2005, this single-screen has changed its appearance and has acquired a lively look that lights up gaily at night. The lobby is subtle and bathes the building in a pleasant ambience.
The one actor who rules the box office here is Salman Khan. His films bring in the lion’s share of profits, including re-runs like Karan Arjun, Veer and Dabangg. An added attraction is the concession stand, where patrons can snack on delicious munchies such as popcorn, puffs, sandwiches and beverages.The closest competitors to Bharat Talkies are Ankita and Kamal, which screen new releases. At present, there is no multiplex in the vicinity.
“We are planning to change the current movie playing system to UFO digital later this year as well as upgrading the sound system to Dolby digital. Renovation is on the cards as well,” reveals Dumbani. As for screening latest releases? He adds, “We plan to show the latest releases soon but only after we change the technology we use. It is a chance we have to take.”