In the world of cinema, few stories are as compelling as the real-life tale of Ajay Bijli, the man who transformed a family-owned cinema hall into a ₹17,000 Crore multiplex chain. His journey, marked by resilience and innovation, is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance.
What to know? At 22, Ajay Bijli stepped into the business world, joining his father’s transportation business. However, tragedy struck with the untimely death of his father in 1992, followed by a devastating fire that razed his business warehouse. Faced with a critical decision, Ajay chose to honour his love for cinema over the transportation business, taking charge of the small family-owned cinema hall “Priya” in Delhi.
Ajay’s first steps were transformative. He installed Dolby Sound Systems, revamped the interiors, and focused on enhancing the movie-going experience. His efforts paid off, with Priya experiencing a tenfold growth and attracting big brands for the first time in Indian cinema history.
Catering to a larger crowd: To meet the growing demand, Ajay entered a joint venture with Village Roadshows, an Australian distributor, giving birth to Priya Village Roadshows (PVR) in 1995. PVR’s first multiplex cinema in Saket, Delhi, introduced the concept of multiple cinemas under one roof, revolutionizing the industry.
Despite challenges, including the withdrawal of Village Roadshows post-9/11, Ajay’s determination never wavered. Securing funding from ICICI Ventures, PVR expanded rapidly across major Indian cities. The company’s IPO in 2006 was a resounding success, raising 250 CR and further solidifying PVR’s position in the market.
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Today, PVR operates over 1650 screens in 70+ cities, with a staggering valuation of 17,000 CR+. Ajay Bijli, hailed as “The Cinema Man of India,” has not only built an empire but also redefined the cinematic experience for millions.
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