Jadooz to set up 5 screens in Q1 of 2022

The firm will soon be reaching out to T.N. govt. and look for unused spaces

Entertainment start-up Jadooz, which is in the business of mini theatres in rural pockets with an average seating capacity of 30-50, will be starting five screens in Tamil Nadu during the first quarter of 2022. “We were supposed to do this in 2019 when we got funded. But due to the pandemic, we had to put our plans on hold,” Rahul Nehra, founder and managing director of Jadooz said.

The firm will soon be reaching out to the Tamil Nadu Government and look out for spaces lying unused. “There are many small spaces available in rural pockets which can be converted into mini theatres. We will see if we can work with the State Government on this,” Mr. Nehra said. “In the morning hours, these screens can be used for educational purpose too,” he added.

The Chennai-headquartered start-up has about 10 screens already built (across India) and another 30 in various stages of construction. The screens are primarily in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Assam, Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh. There are screens in Nepal too. And last month, Jadooz forayed into Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang.

The start-up also had plans of piloting its model in rural railway infrastructure. “There are many small stations in India and there is space available in some of these places. These spaces can be used for mini theatres,” Mr. Nehra said. The firm is open to the franchisee route too – anyone having a hall and funds to the tune of ₹35 lakh can be the owner of a cinema hall.

Post COVID-19, many movie-goers have started watching films on OTT platforms. Many single screens are struggling to attract crowds. But Mr. Nehra feels that good content on the big screen still attracts people. “As the screens opened last month, we saw a surge of viewers in cinema halls. This surge is beyond our expectations, and all our screens are cash-positive in spite of the hiatus,” he said, adding that OTT was eating into the television pie and surprisingly competing with social media content also.

The start-up is also in the process of raising about $3 million.

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