in conversation with Shaaminder Malik -DAIZY LAL PURI

Daizy Lal Puri comes with over 22 years of well-rounded experience in the field of Entertainment and Hospitality sector. She started her stint at INOX as VP- Operations Support in 2005 and moved up the ladder as the Chief Operating Officer in 2010.
She is responsible for the overall operations of the organization such as food and beverage, regular interaction with human resource department for human potential management, training/development, policy development, service levels – guest feedback and management feedback and employee morale also forms an important part of her profile.
Prior to her stint at INOX, Daizy was associated with Old World Hospitality Private Limited, E-City Entertainment (I) Pvt. Ltd., The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. and Hotel Taj Mahal. Daizy holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology –Mumbai.
How do you account for the raging success of some Indian films in China? What do they like about our cinema?
I would give it to the encouragement that both countries have for each other and it also dates back to the success of 3 idiots in China few years back. I believe the consumption sensibility of the patrons in China is very similar to ours. The films done well – such as 3 Idiots, Dangal, Secret Superstar, Hitchki are all which have a realistic human life connect to them and looking at the pattern, my personal belief is that such films do well in that market.
Video streaming via OTT apps is slowly becoming a big threat to cinema houses as films move to these platforms within 2 months. What kind of challenge do these platforms present to your business?
Watching movies with families is a primary source of entertainment for people in India and it is like a social gathering in India which will never go out of fashion. It is a family outing and people who love watching movies would like to catch it immediately and also have a big screen experience.
Many successful films this year have been films not based in big cities or in foreign lands as they used to be. Why has middle India or small town India come to mean so much?
If you see the evolution of cinema consumption in India, audiences have become much more aware and experimental. With the advent of internet, Indians now have access and exposure to global content. Hence an average consumer’s choice is much more varied and to couple with this, good content always works. If the script is great, backed by some good and realistic performances, the film is sure to touch a cord. It does not need a large city or a foreign land.
While there has been a lot of hue and cry over rising ticket prices, you have also launched premium formats like Insignia, IMAX, 4DX etc. How much incremental investments do these need and what is revenue opportunity from such properties?
There is always that ratio of demand and supply that every brand maintains. We constantly innovate with changing times and demands. People today are well travelled and are aware of global best practices and premium formats and have become experimental in nature. All this has given us an opportunity to constantly innovate and has encouraged us to launch premium formats at our multiplexes which have a huge demand across the country. INSIGNIA, our signature indulgence has 32 screens in India today and we are constantly expanding to keep up with demand and have recently launched 2 INSIGNIA screens at METRO INOX in Mumbai. These are 100% solar powered screens and yet again, we pioneered path breaking initiative of being India’s first solar powered multiplex.
After Bahubali I and II more and more studios are opting for big budget multi episodic extravaganzas. Is this the right way to go?
The movie definitely is a mass favourite. Bahubali franchise is a case study for Indian film makers and there is so much to learn for all of us. What works at Box Office today, is good experimental content backed by good performances. What Bahubali has given to budding filmmakers is a tryst to do better and experiment with their content. There is no harm in trying a similar pattern of multi episodic extravaganza again because the audiences have accepted this new format.
With consolidation in the sector, top 3-4 players have become huge and may have a greater say in how and when a film releases and the number of screens it gets. Should this worry the small indie filmmaker?
Every film is treated equally at our multiplex- be it a Bahubali or recently released Andhadhun. We also promote regional content in all parts of the country- for eg: Telugu, Tamil language films. These are released in the non-southern markets including smaller towns such as Ajmer, Bhiwadi etc. Programming a movie is a science and it depends on the consumption pattern of the people in that particular market. It also depends on how has that particular genre, language and star performed in that market before.
India’s ratio of screens to people is dismal. Will having more screens help films recover money? On the other hand, is it sensible to open more screens when there isn’t enough content?
India has the highest number of films produced and the second highest number of theatre footfalls. Inspite of this, we are still hugely under screened. India has only 8 screens per million population compared to China which is almost double. It definitely needs more screens to do justice to the films released and also to cover the length and the breadth of the country.
Indubitably you are the one of the leading exhibition chain in India today, what is it that makes you very different and keeps you on top from your competition, apart from the no. of screens?
LUXURY, SERVICE and TECHNOLOGY are the three pillars that INOX operates on. We believe in giving the best to our guests and this has helped us in being not just the leading multiplex chain but also a preferred one. Enhancing customer experience is our motto and is a part of the company DNA.
We keep redefining luxury at every opportunity we get and edge up the bar with all new openings and one see glimpses of bespoke interiors at all our new property launches. Our signature offering, INSIGNIA is an epitome of 7-star cinema viewing experience. Our guests at INSIGNIA are treated to enjoy opulent recliners, personalized service from exclusive reservation phone lines in select theatres, dedicated concierge and GRE teams assisting and escorting the guests to their seats, butler-on-call facility and much more. Our menu offerings are curated by celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani. Technology is at the CORE of INOX and we have the best of sound and projection technology across all our multiplexes. Select INOX multiplexes are equipped with Laser projection making it a Laserplex. The theatres have Dolby Atmos sound for guests to enjoy explosive sound coupled with Laser projection that offers 300% brighter images and vibrant 3D powered by Volfoni Systems.
Our focus on service cannot be achieved without having the best of teams on board and hence we also lay importance on training and people development. We are certain that we will continue to enhance our guest experience with many more innovations and luxury experiences.
With so many new young actors with impeccable pedigrees coming in, does that make the shelf life of older stars shorter, with the exception of the three Khans.
I don’t think that’s true. We still have the legendary Mr. Bachchan ruling Indian cinemas so the shelf life of any actor is not age dependent. The audiences are looking forward to see Aamir Khan with as much excitement as Amitabh Bachchan in the upcoming Thugs of Hindustan and both actors belong to a completely different generation.

 

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