News Desk : Archana Kalpathi, the young director and CEO of AGS Cinemas, talks about the group’s latest property in T Nagar and her future plans for the company
For long, T Nagar has suffered. It has everything — from skyscraper-like stores selling jewellery and clothes to serpentine queues for vegetables and fruits — but not a single prominent theatre. The ones that thrived in the past — including Krishnaveni, Nagesh, Rajakumari and Sun — were either converted into commercial spaces or faded into oblivion.
That’s set to change now.
With AGS Cinemas launching their four-screen multiplex on the bustling G.N. Chetty Road, Thyagaraya Nagar’s date with cinema is very much on. “I grew up in this neighbourhood and did my schooling here… I used to miss having a theatre nearby,” recalls 32-year-old Archana Kalpathi, director and CEO of AGS Cinemas.
So, when she tweeted her excitement at the launch, saying, “Dreams do come true”, she truly meant it. “The location is, obviously, its USP,” adds Archana, who is already in-charge of the theatres at OMR and Villivakkam. “And that’s not just it… we’ve worked hard on this property.”
She’s referring to what has gone in, both in terms of ambience and sound — the multiplex is built on the concept of light and lines (even the carpet has lines running right through it) while the screens boast rich Dolby Atmos.
Both, in her opinion, are important for a theatre to click with audiences in cinema-crazy Chennai. “Our audiences are quite tech-savvy,” she says, “They know sound. They understand sound. If there’s an issue at any of our theatres, I immediately get feedback.”
Archana didn’t plan to enter into the movie business; the Kalpathi family was initially into computer training education before venturing into real estate. “I saw the company grow from scratch,” says Archana, who holds a degree in artificial intelligence, and indulges in a healthy diet of movies. “Dad wanted me to get into business, and I was keen as well. I like taking up challenges, and once I took over the multiplex business, I realised I have a passion for architecture.”
She hopes that her passion will, over time, result in better interiors and ambience to make for a pleasant movie-watching experience. The business side of things, too, is looking up, she feels. “2015, except December, was a great year for us,” she smiles, “Adding more screens and giving audiences a better chance to catch films on the big screen will help curb piracy.”
As of now, Archana has grand plans in the pipeline. On the cards is a five-screen multiplex at Alapakkam, which will have close to 2,000 seats; planning has already begun for that. For now, though, her energies are completely devoted to the G.N. Chetty Road property. “I want to restart the whole red-carpet experience, with special premieres with the stars of a film. I also want to do something like a Walk of Fame.”