Cinegoers in Chandigarh want pocket-friendly snacking at multiplexes
Movie watching at a multiplex isn’t a pocket-friendly affair anymore. One has to shell out a stinging amount of money for a pack of crackling popcorn or a sip of chilled cola while enjoying the film.
In response to a petition questioning the high food prices in multiplexes that prohibit people from carrying personal food items and water inside the theatres, the Mumbai High Court said that food and water sold inside multiplexes are exorbitantly priced and need to be reduced. The ruling found immediate resonance with tricity residents.
The tricity has several malls housing multiplexes, including the Elante Mall and Centra Mall, both situated in Chandigarh Industrial Area, North Country Country Mall in SAS Nagar, Fun Republic Mall in Manimajra, TDI Mall in Sector 17, Chandigarh and DLF City Centre Mall in Manimajra. The practice of selling food and water at high prices is a norm across all these multiplex chains.
The student brass particularly feels the sting. Prince Dhiman, 22, a student of DAV College, Chandigarh, says, “Though the tickets for four persons come under Rs 1,000, the total cost of watching a film goes upto Rs 2,500 if you include snacking as well.”
Vishesh Singh, a student of SD College, Chandigarh, says, “We live on pocket money. It’s difficult to afford food items inside the cinema hall.” Many feel a bottle of water and certain food items should be allowed inside. Tanu Sharma, 28, a practising accountant in Chandigarh remarked, “The multiplexes should at least allow us to carry our own water. Even water is so expensive inside.”
While cinegoers seemed okay with multiplexes being allowed a nominal premium of about 5-10%, it’s the exorbitant food prices that seem to have got their goat. Monica Sood, a mother of two quipped, “We buy food in multiplex only when the kids compel us. A humble cup of coffee costs a whopping Rs 120.”
Sadanand Khera, a senior citizen, commented on how movie watching has evolved over the years. “Times have changed. These days, food in multiplexes costs more than the film itself. People from all strata and walks of life go to watch films. Food prices must be affordable for every cinegoer.”
While Mr Chandramohan Sharma, Area Manager, PVR Cinemas was unavailable for comment, an employee at PVR Cinemas, on the condition of anonymity said, “PVR pays approximately Rs 1 crore as annual rent to the mall. There are electricity bills and salaries to be paid separately. Apart from that, we also have to pay other taxes and give film houses their share. Where will all of it come from if prices are not high? There is hardly any revenue generation from tickets.”
The president of Multiplex Association of India Deepak Asher also remained unavailable for comment. Tricity is laden with a number of shopping malls that house multiplexes.