MUMBAI: Millions of moviegoers are expected to join the first-ever National Cinema Day scheduled this Friday, in over 4,000 silver screens across India, at special discounted rates, top officials said here.
An initiative of the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), on September 23, film-buffs can pay just Rs 75 per ticket and walk into any cinema of their choice along with other "special surprises" lined up for them to mark the NCD.
MAI President Kamal Gianchandani, who is also the CEO of PVR Pictures Ltd, said of the approximately 11,000 screens -- in multiplexes and single -- in India, around 4,000 will participate in the first ever NCD to welcome patrons back to the cinema halls.
"On average, there are 400 seats per auditorium, which makes around four million seats available in the country for filmgoers. From this, nearly 16,000 seats shall participate in the NCD," Gianchandani told IANS.
The participating cinema chains/screens include PVR, INOX, Cinepolis, Carnival, Miraj, City Pride, Asian, Mukta A2, Movietime, Wave, M2K, Delite and even some single-screen operators, all over India, he added.
Some of the major films likely to be exhibited during the NCD will be 'KGF: Chapter 2', 'RRR', 'Vikram', 'Bhool Bhulaiya 2', or Hollywood big films like 'Doctor Strange', 'Top Gun: Maverick', and other films.
"The multiplexes may also make their own special offers, for people of all age-groups, exclusions to welcome the people to the cinemas that day, but we can't reveal the details now," said Gianchandani.
He said that the NCD is intended to be a 'Thank You' to the filmgoers who made it happen by returning to the cinemas after the two years of Coronavirus Pandemic closure, and a warm invite to those who have still not made it to the local neighbourhood movie-halls yet.
According to MAI, the first quarter of the current fiscal notched an impressive recovery for cinema operators in India and the NCD -- which shall become an annual feature -- will be a step forward in the direction.
Citing official statistics, Gianchandani said China has around 70,000 screens, the US has nearly 40,000 screens while India has a little more than 11,000 screens.
India, where the era of film-making dawned with the historic film, "Raja Harischandra" (1913), made by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, alias Dadasaheb Phalke.
Today, the country has become the world's largest filmmaker with around 3,000 films in multiple languages produced annually.
Established in 2002, the MAI works under the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) representing more than a dozen cinema chains operating over 500 multiplexes with over 4,000 screens, representing around three-fourths of the multiplex industry.