Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn is investing in small-town India’s cinema-going experience

After acting, direction and production, Bollywood star Ajay Devgn is cradling a new venture in the film world: exhibition. Backed by Rs600 crore investment led by Devgn, NY Cinemas—named after his daughter Nysa and son Yug—aims to set up 250 screens across India in the next five years.

Devgn made his debut in Indian cinema with Phool aur Kante in 1991. He has since acted in over 100 films, directed two and produced more than a dozen in Hindi and Marathi. Devgn also owns NY VFXWAALA, which has done the visual effects for big Bollywood projects like Simmba, Bajirao Mastani, and Shivaay.

Now, with the theatre chain, he wants to bring modern movie theatres to smaller towns, with more experiences to entertain cinemagoers beyond what’s on the silver screen. Though the group is still tight-lipped on the exact offerings, it promises to be unique and hopes to create “engagement for every age group, from a child to a teenager to a family to senior citizens, everybody,” says chief executive officer Rajeev Sharma.

NY Cinemas isn’t going to lock horns with a chain like PVR. Instead, it will cater to tier 2 and tier 3 audiences that have disposable incomes but lack good cinemas in their areas. Devgn felt the old-time charm of going to single-screens is lost. He wants to bring that back but without compromising on modern amenities and international standards of audio, video, and comfort.

Our unique concept-based cinemas would have more customer engagement, which we feel is lacking today. Not many people stay back in the theatre after a movie, nor do they want to come even a minute before the movie starts. The experiences we’ll offer will aim to get people to come to the cinema five or seven minutes in advance, take selfies, and hang around the property. And every property is treated differently, right from the construction.