Mumbai’s Jio Drive-in theatre is set to open with the release of Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryavanshi today. The drive-in theatre, operated and managed by PVR Ltd, will be launched today and is billed as a “relatively safer open space” for audiences watch a movie post pandemic.
Situated in Jio World Drive, the recently launched retail precinct spread across 17.5 acres in Mumbai’s commercial hub Bandra Kurla Complex, Jio Drive-in has the capacity for 290 cars. Ajay Bijli, chairperson and managing director for PVR Ltd, told PTI, “Normally, when you go abroad, you have suburban drive-ins, where there are large patches of land and people just open their bonnets, turn their cars around, and put out their lounge chairs. But a drive-in in the centre of the city hasn’t been done before. This is a unique opportunity, we are excited to be part of such a prestigious mall. The city will be taken by storm,” Bijli told PTI.
According to Darshan Mehta, CEO, Jio World Drive, “Large urban areas are devoid of open spaces and malls have become urban hangout places, urbanscapes. People crave relatively safer open spaces. The movies are there, of course, but the environment of nice weather, open sky and food become a very critical component. It’s all here.”
The project, he disclosed, has been in the works for over a decade. The site was once home to one of the three drive-ins of the country at that time. The other two were in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. “The one in Bombay closed down in 1977. The Maker family, which was one of the top real estate developers of the city, acquired the plot of land to develop and then over the years, Reliance acquired the property in partnership with the Makers. Gradually, it became a majority company,” Mehta said.
Mehta added that the thought behind the Jio Drive-in theatre was to give something back to Mumbai in a “more contemporary form” as cinema continues to be one of the most popular forms of entertainment. “To make land, in the centre of the city, a yielding asset, unique use of it must be made. So, the concept was that we will make the state-of-the-art Jio World mall and on top of it, we will have the drive-in. Somewhere in this planning, the partnership with PVR was struck,” Mehta said.
That the opening is with the long awaited Sooryavanshi is very fortunate, said Bijli. Those guys waited for about 18 months to release their film. All movies meant for the drive-in are coming. In fact, we should do something for ’83’ as well. That will be massive as the cricket season is on,” Bijli said.
The Jio Drive-in, which boasts of “one of the biggest cinema screens in the country” with 24m x 10m as dimensions, will be a whole package that adds to the experience — the right quality of sound and projection system, convenient car parking base, and an ace F&B facility.