BUT WHO is the figure among the ciphers! Who is the revolutionary who commenced a paradigm shift in Indian cinema viewing! It's none other than Ajay Bijli – who works tirelessly with the speed and vigour of 'bijli'. In 1997, he laid the foundation, which was to become the bellwether in the cinema world of India. This alchemist, Bijli, who knows the art of making hay while the sun shines, has his leverage over the movie-goers mind to an extent that they need nothing less than the best today. Having an innate characteristic of restlessness, this trailblazer keeps himself engaged with his iPad, shuffling his flights to various destinations.
The success we see today, as PVR being a household name, has come after burning the midnight's oil for countless nights. The PVR owner used to write 15-20 letters a week to Australian Village Roadshow, which he was pursuing to invest in his venture, before it could turn into a success. From a transport company - Amritsar Transport Company - to a successful cinema venture, Bijli has come a long way, raising the bar of Bijli to a brand thunderstorm. Today, PVR has presence in 24 cities, 23 states and has 173 screens.
Having fallen prey to the tyro-influenced substantial investment - Rs 100 crores in Bangalore, Noida, and Hyderabad, his fate played a hide and seek game for a while when the Austrailian partner wanted out post 9/11 tragedy. This turned out to be a failure for Bijli, but the failure didn't let him become an underdog. He bounced back quickly when ICICI put in Rs 38 crores in his ventures, and he again started making hay.
But still having spread his PVR brand exponentially, his gratification has not found a tranquil abode. Substantial expansion is what is ruling his mind these days, as the maverick plans to paint 250 new cinemas bearing the PVR stamp. And Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson is the latest addition to his readables, which has embedded in him a sense of mulling over, pause and planning – how to transform Priya Village Roadshow into a billion-dollar organisation.
In June 1997 – the first multiplex was launched in Saket, New Delhi - the PVR Anupam. And we all know, the rest that followed was history. Till date Bijli is finicky about details, keeping track of the minutiae is his innate nature, which he says plays a very vital role for him in all his business initiatives. Explore! Expand! Exuberance! is his mantra and he follows it without exception.
From transport to multiplexes, from cinemas to distribution, from distribution to production, Bijli has a tendency to hit the right chord at the right time, though he also meets failures at times. Recently, during one of his overseas trips, he came across a beanbag concept in multiplexes, and implementing this in his PVRs is what has been spinning inside his mind these days. He is also planning to introduce bowling in multiplexes, which is otherwise loosing its sheen everywhere and is gradually becoming a fading business. Not only this, there is some more in Ajay Bijli's kitty to offer – an international foray into Hongkong, Singapore and London.
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