Inaugurated in Feb 2006, PVR eagerly dented the incumbent premier digital movie-watching experience of town, and without much ado the Prasads
monopoly came undone. Undoubtedly, IMAX adaptation movies remain eye-candy at Prasads, but daily movie-watching experience underwent a sea of changes for those who could spend a three-digit crispy green for a ticket.
For the average Hyderabadi cinemagoer, PVR is more than centrally air-conditioned theater and happening crowd. It is about a 3-digit ticket price, online ticket booking at a premium, bucket seats, big-ticket popcorns and cola, squeaky washrooms with uniformed cleaners in hidden pockets (you'll either squeal in delight or scream in horror of being caught unaware) and plush cars in the parking lot to account for a few.
Unlike other cities that have standalone PVR cinema complexes, PVR Hyderabad is housed on the 5th floor of an ever-glutted shopping mall - Hyderabad Central Mall
. It's hard to read the builders' thoughts when they decided to get people to wade past crazy shoppers and a sea of gluttonous overeaters at the food court to make way into the theater complex.
The alternative entry through elevators is as depressing - you only wait for hours for your turn to get into it. And when you finally get your spot to rest your foot, it'll beep to suggest overload. Rest assured, nobody wants to get off - but you and only you'll do it out of that irritating hooter blowing just above your head.
Despite all this, if you managed to get your ticket, consider it your gate pass through Pearly Gates. For, the hall looks pristinely elegant, bathed in red from the cushioned seats to the draped walls. There is no peeling paint, no torn and scooped out rexin seats, no leaking roof or even slit screen. And no odor - just the mingling Prada, Ferrari, Escada and Fahrenheit effusing from fellow movie watchers.
And if you forgot to pick your popcorn bucket before you entered the hall, you can recline easy - they come (almost) begging for your snack orders. Get your money's worth - demand a combo and ask if they have special offers on it too. Ignore the sneering looks, it still ain't history to pay 40 INR for a movie ticket and get a 5 INR packet of popcorn to complete the experience. But if you demand luxury, just sit back and make sure you pop every kernel of the 45 INR buttered popcorn right into where they most belong - your mouth.
The theater exits speak an untold story - this is what the builders most likely ignored planning about. Visibly, the polished floor and stairs sparkle, sure, but hey, we didn't want a skating ring for a staircase. Worse, when it rains, the staircase floods - I fail to know the hows of it.
If watching your foot on your exit wasn't enough, the basement parking is dismal, and poses asphyxiating fuss from ill-planned (or, is that "unplanned") parking slots. If it took a little longer at the basement for you to drive out, you might be coughing your way out.
PVR is undoubtedly the quintessence of fine movie watching, but hey, let's get the basics in place - alternatively, consider having a helipad on the roof.