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Ad-free movies in theatres? A new viewing experience awaits cinema lovers

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Mumbai, April 27 (IANS) Watching content on any medium with commercials peppered during its runtime is not a pleasant experience for viewers. Some of them opt for a premium OTT subscription and get a seamless experience, but theatres and television channels still regard advertisements as a revenue stream.

The scenario, though, is changing. Theatres too are taking the ad-free route to offer an unparalleled cinematic experience to the audience, which hasn’t been forthcoming about going to watch movies on the big screen.

So, how does a theatre earn additional revenue if it gives up on commercials before each show and during intermissions? Commercials, after all, have been a feature of the cinema-viewing experience for as long as people remember.

Well, the trick seems to be the utilisation of time. The string of advertisements per screening of a movie clocks anywhere between 30-35 minutes. Bypassing commercials, each theatre can save about 45 minutes and use it for the next screening, thereby generating additional revenue from ticket sales and food and beverage services.

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The ad-free movie experience is now available in the luxury segment of PVR INOX. The idea behind this experience stems from the time-conscious nature of the audience.

Renaud Palliere, Chief of The Luxury Collection and Innovation, PVR INOX Limited, in a conversation with IANS, shared insights into why the chain has decided to go ad-free for the premium segment.

“We discovered that a specific audience set valued time more than anything else,” Palliere said. “The pre-show segment or the advertisements run for 30 to 40 minutes and we learnt that this audience figured that out. Not only did they figure it out, they also started arriving late for the movies to avoid the ads. They arrived close to the showtime. The doors of the hall are open as soon as it is ready to seat the audience.”

Talking about the impact of the changing audience behaviour, Palliere said, “Their arrival at the hall a few minutes before the screening of the movie kind of defeated the purpose of advertisements. That’s the reason we decided to come up with providing an ad-free experience to the viewers. As I mentioned, this set of audience is willing to pay more, but doesn’t like to compromise on time.”

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Palliere added that PVR INOX has decided to launch the ad-free experience for movies in three cities — Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru — in about 10 “ultra premium” Insignia and Director’s Cut cinemas, and “the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive”.

Palliere added: “They now experience only 10 minutes of the pre-show package, which consists of trailers and teasers of upcoming movies.”

The revenues of each of the participating theatres have not been affected in the least. LED installations and plasma screens in the lounge and the gallery of each theatre are still very much intact, ensuring a steady flow of revenue from ads. These are the common areas and are accessed by the audience cutting across all segments.

The multiplex chain has no plans of rolling out the ad-free experience to the rest of its cinemas, except those in the premium segment, which will see a further scaling up in the second phase of the rollout.

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“Beyond the premium group of patrons, there seems to be no point in rolling out this feature to other audience segments that watch movies in theatres,” Palliere concluded.

–IANS

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As Sonakshi-Zaheer get married, looking back at 2020 Salman-Sonakshi fake photo

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) Even as the media swirls with speculation regarding the lehenga that Sonakshi Sinha will wear for the wedding celebrations on Sunday evening, or whether she’ll break into a dance, people who have been following the many stories circulating about her rumoured relationships, recall the time when she was linked with Salman Khan.

Salman and Sonakshi’s paths first crossed when she made her debut in his action comedy, ‘Dabangg’ (2010), and he’s said to have played Cupid and brought the couple together.

It is said that the couple met when Zaheer was shooting for ‘Notebook’, the romantic drama produced by Salman Khan. Zaheer was making his Bollywood debut in the film opposite another newbie, Pranutan Bahl, daughter of actor Mohnish Bahl, and granddaughter of Nutan.

Before Zaheer entered her life, Sonakshi had briefly dated her ‘Tevar’ co-star Arjun Kapoor in 2014. Their relationship collapsed within a year.

Salman, incidentally, is a good friend of Iqbal Ratansi, Zaheer’s father, and a leading Mumbai jeweller with interests in real estate (Blackstone Housing and Infrastructure Limited), lighting equipment for Bollywood (Film Tools, Lights and Grip) and media (Zahero Media and Internet).

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So, how did Sonakshi get linked with Salman? In the pre-deepfake era, when photoshopped pictures were common, there was one of Salman and Sonakshi that went viral in 2020. It showed them getting married at a private ceremony in Dubai.

Reacting to the picture, Sonakshi took to social media and put to rest the speculation that had acquired a feverish breathlessness. Taking to Instagram, she said, “Are you so dumb that you can’t tell the difference between a real and a morphed picture?”

Sonakshi and Zaheer, whom she lovingly describes as her “personal psycho”, have been dating for the past seven years. The eldest child of leading Mumbai jeweller Iqbal Ratansi acted opposite Sonakshi in the critically panned 2022 film ‘Double XL’, where he plays a London-based TV line producer, Zorawar Rahmani.

The film, which also features Huma Qureshi, sees Sonakshi as fashion designer Sara Kapoor, who relocates to London from Delhi after a broken relationship.

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Zaheer was last seen on the big screen in a special appearance with Salman’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma in the action film ‘Ruslaan’, released earlier this year. Like ‘Double XL’, ‘Ruslaan’ also bombed at the box office.

–IANS

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'Bigg Boss OTT 3': Deepak Chaurasia reports live from House; Sana Makbul praises Shivani's 'sadagi'

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) Journalist Deepak Chaurasia, who is a contestant on the controversial reality show ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’, is reporting live from the heart of the ‘Bigg Boss’ house.

On the second day of the show, Deepak brings viewers the headlines of the day: YouTube sensation Shivani Kumari made waves with her first swim in the pool, sparking excitement among the housemates.

His second headline of the day is that tensions grew when Bigg Boss forgot to wish social media influencer Sana Sultan Khan a happy birthday.

The third headline is that the kitchen is now abuzz with discussions as housemates deliberate over today’s lunch plans.

In the ‘Bigg Boss OTT’ house, genuine moments of camaraderie often shine through. This Sunday, the audience saw television actress Sana Makbul and Kritika Malik praising Shivani’s ‘sadagi’ (simplicity).

They celebrated Shivani’s natural beauty and simplicity.

Sana, while applying mascara to Shivani, praised her for her effortless elegance.

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Kritika chimed in, saying, “We need makeup to look good, but Shivani, you look beautiful even without it.”

Will these heartfelt compliments bring the girls closer, or will the day’s events stir up new challenges?

The show also features contestants actor Ranveer Shorey, TV actors Sai Ketan Rao and Poulomi Das, rapper Naved Shaikh a.k.a. Naezy, social media influencers Vishal Pandey and Lovekesh Kataria, ‘Vada Pav’ girl Chandrika Dixit, YouTuber Armaan Malik and his two wives, Payal and Kritika, astrologer Munisha Khatwani, and Indian boxer Neeraj Goyat.

The show, which is hosted by Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor, is streaming on JioCinema Premium.

Meanwhile, Sana Makbul, who began her career in modelling, appeared in the reality show ‘MTV Scooty Teen Diva’ in 2009. She then starred in the teen musical series ‘Ishaan: Sapno Ko Awaaz De’. She was also a contestant in ‘Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.’

–IANS

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After Mehendi, stage set for Sonakshi-Zaheer civil marriage and celebratory party

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) The stage is set for the much-anticipated wedding of Sonakshi Sinha with long-time beau Zaheer Iqbal.

The wedding celebrations officially kicked off with the arrival of producer Ramesh Taurani’s wedding gift for Zaheer — a wine bottle accompanied by flowers.

Ahead of their wedding, Sonakshi and Zaheer hosted a private mehendi ceremony for family and friends. Sonakshi, known as Sona among friends, wore a stunning red and brown outfit, even as Zaheer’s relatives welcomed her into Bandstand Building A, which is how the Iqbal residence is known.

The Sinha family home, Ramayana, was brightly lit up on Saturday evening in anticipation of the wedding.

As officially announced by Zaheer’s father, Iqbal Ratansi, it will be a civil marriage, which will be followed by a celebratory party at the upper-crust Mumbai restaurant, Bastian, on Linking Road, Bandra West.

The restaurant, which is owned by Shilpa Shetty, is now helmed by the formerly New York-based Michelin-starred celebrity chef, Suvir Saran.

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Sonakshi and the man she lovingly describes as her “personal psycho”, Zaheer Iqbal, have been dating for the past seven years. It was Salman Khan, a friend of Zaheer’s family and Sonakshi’s ‘Dabangg’ co-star, who played Cupid, according to media reports.

It is said that the couple met when Zaheer was shooting for ‘Notebook’, the 2019 romantic drama produced by Salman Khan. Zaheer was making his debut in the film opposite another newbie, Pranutan Bahl, daughter of actor Mohnish Bahl, and granddaughter of Nutan.

Zaheer, the eldest child of leading Mumbai jeweller Iqbal Ratansi, acted opposite her in the critically panned 2022 film ‘Double XL’, where he plays a London-based TV line producer, Zorawar Rahmani.

The film, which also features Huma Qureshi, sees Sonakshi as fashion designer Sara Kapoor, who relocates to London from Delhi after a broken relationship.

Zaheer was last seen on the big screen in a special appearance with Salman’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma in the action film, Ruslaan, released earlier this year. Like ‘Double XL’, ‘Ruslaan’ also bombed at the box office.

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–IANS

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'Bigg Boss OTT 3': Vishal Pandey, Lovekesh hide poha packets; Ranvir Shorey gets angry

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) The morning of the second day of ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ saw social media influencers Vishal Pandey and Lovekesh Kataria hiding packets of poha as a prank, leaving the housemates worried about the missing food and suspecting a robbery.

The housemates found apples and oranges in the drawers of social media influencer Sana Sultan Khan and YouTube sensation Shivani Kumari, adding to the chaos and leading them to believe it was a special task.

It will be interesting to see whether the housemates uncover that the robbery was a prank and not a special task, or if this will lead to more confusion and chaos.

The makers took to social media and shared some pictures from day two.

The snaps show actor Ranveer Shorey in a confused state of mind, Vishal holding the poha packet, and Sana smiling in the last photo.

The post is captioned: “#BiggBossOTT3 ke dusre din gharwalo ko mila reality check! Aakhir kyu hai Ranvir Bigg Boss se khafa?”

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The show is streaming on JioCinema Premium.

Meanwhile, Vishal has nine million followers, and Lovekesh has two million followers on Instagram. Sana has 6.5 million followers on Instagram.

Ranveer started his career with his friend and co-actor, Vinay Pathak. He was the host of the talk show ‘Ranvir Vinay Aur Kaun?’ and ‘The Great Indian Comedy Show’. He made his debut in 2002 opposite Manisha Koirala in the film ‘Ek Chhotisi Love Story’.

The 51-year-old actor has also featured in movies like ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’, ‘Traffic Signal’, ‘Ugly Aur Pagli’, ‘Singh Is Kinng’, ‘Do Knot Disturb’, ‘Bombay Talkies’, ‘A Death In The Gunj’, ‘Sonchiriya’, ‘Lootcase’, ‘420 IPC’, ‘Tiger 3’, and ‘RK/RKay’.

He has also been a part of web series like ‘Rangbaaz’, ‘Sacred Games’, ‘Metro Park’, ‘Sunflower’, and ‘Tabbar’. Ranveer has also participated in ‘Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 5’.

–IANS

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'Bigg Boss OTT 3': Sai Ketan breaks down in front of Deepak Chaurasia; recalls getting Rs 100 for short film

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ contestant and TV actor Sai Ketan Rao opened up about his life struggles inside the house during a conversation with journalist Deepak Chaurasia, recalling how he received just Rs 100 for a role in a short film.

In a video shared by the show’s makers on Sunday, Sai, who is known for his roles in TV shows ‘Mehndi Hai Rachne Waali’ and ‘Imlie’, became emotional while speaking with Deepak.

Sai is seen crying in the video and saying to Deepak: “2016 me maine ek short film kia tha… hero ka bhai tha main (In 2016, I did a short film in which I played the role of the hero’s brother).”

Sai was referring to the 2016 Telugu short film ‘Devil in Disguise’.

The actor then continued, “Rs 100 mile the mujhe or is pure time me struggle kafi tha. Hamari situation bahut hi kharab thi… maine sab kuch kho dia… paise kho diye opportunities kho diye, My father was never there in my life (I got Rs 100 for my role in the short film. There were a lot of struggles. Our situation was very bad… I lost everything — money, opportunities, etc. My father was never there in my life).”

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Deepak replied sympathetically, saying, “So sad,” to which Sai further added, ” Unhone hame chodh dia (My father had left us).”

The video ends with Deepak consoling Sai, saying, “Don’t cry.”

The post is captioned: “Hero ka bhai tha, 100 rupay mile the – Sai Ketan gets real about his life struggles.”

‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ is streaming on JioCinema Premium.

Meanwhile, Sai has been featured in TV shows like ‘Chashni’ and ‘Agni Sakshi’, and web series such as ‘The Baker and the Beauty’, ‘Aham Bhramhasmi’, ‘Love Studio’, ‘Beyond Breakup’, and ‘Three Half Bottles’.

He has also starred in Telugu movies like ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’, ‘Ajay Passayyadu’, ‘Strangers’, ‘Pellikuturu Party’, and others.

–IANS

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